It’s summertime, and with the expected boat traffic and beach outings, Mote Marine Laboratory encourages the public to protect marine life! Below are seven wildlife-friendly tips to keep in mind.
1. Follow safe-boating guidelines from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Coast Guard, heed slow speed zone signs, and use vigilance to avoid striking sea turtles, manatees and dolphins.
2. If you observe a manatee mating herd such as the one pictured above, watch the manatees from at least 100 feet away. Coming any closer might disrupt the animals’ natural mating behavior or put people into harm’s way.
3. Wear polarized sunglasses to better see marine life in your path.
4. Never feed marine wildlife.
5. Stow trash and fishing line when underway. Marine debris that accidentally blows overboard or out of a vehicle can become ingested by or entangled around marine life.
6. When enjoying the beach, heed Mote’s tips for protecting nesting sea turtles. Visit mote.org/news/environmental-updates/2019-sea-turtle-nesting.
7. If you see a sick, injured or stranded marine mammal or sea turtle, call Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program (988•0212) in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Outside this area, contact the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888•404•FWCC (3922).