Milder winter temperatures lead to lower annual manatee mortality count in 2012
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Press Release January 8, 2013
Contact: Kevin Baxter, 727-896-8626
Additional Photos available: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjxNrc5v
Researchers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) documented fewer manatee deaths in 2012 than in the previous three years, as milder winter temperatures led to significantly less cold-related mortality. The FWC recorded 392 manatee carcasses in state waters last year, of which a quarter were determined to be from human-related causes.
FWC researchers, managers and law enforcement staff work closely together to evaluate mortality data and identify necessary actions. Actions may include steps to protect vital habitat or special patrols to ensure compliance with manatee speed zones.
The FWC is committed to conservation actions that reduce human-caused manatee deaths, including those related to watercraft. The FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, in cooperation with partner agencies, uses knowledge of local boating conditions and habits, well-posted speed regulatory zones and up-to-date manatee information as part of its on-the-water enforcement operations.
Researchers documented 81 watercraft-related deaths in 2012, slightly below the yearly average of the past five years.
“Protecting manatees is a priority,” said Maj. Jack Daugherty, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader. “Our officers take time to patrol manatee zones, identify areas that have presented problems, and generally work with the public to educate them on how to boat safely and in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.”
To help prevent cold-related deaths, the FWC continues to work with partners to enhance availability of warm-water sites important to manatee survival. Among recent efforts was the restoration of Fanning Springs by the FWC and partners, which improves manatee access to a natural warm-water habitat off the Suwannee River.
To view preliminary 2012 manatee mortality data, visit MyFWC.com/Research/Manatee and click on “Manatee Mortality Statistics.” To learn more about manatee conservation, go to MyFWC.com/Manatee.
As part of its conservation efforts, the FWC rescues distressed manatees throughout the state. The FWC and partners rescued 81 manatees in 2012, in many cases as a result of citizens contacting the agency. To report a dead or distressed manatee, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Florida residents can also help manatees by purchasing the manatee specialty license plate, available at county tax collectors’ offices. The funds collected for these plates go directly to manatee research and conservation.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Posted by Caryn Self-Sullivan, PhD at 6:39 AM
Friday, November 16, 2012
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
As weather cools, Florida manatees move to warmer waters
Press Release: November 15, 2012
Contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291
Additional photos available on FWC’s Flickr site: Go to http://flic.kr/s/aHsjxNrc5v.
Now that the weather outside is chilly, Florida manatees are migrating to warmer waters. They swim in search of a warm winter refuge such as freshwater springs or canals adjacent to power plant outflows. An adult manatee may weigh 1,000 pounds or more but is susceptible to cold. Water temperatures dipping to 68 degrees or below can produce cold stress in these aquatic mammals, and even cause death.
With many of the seasonal manatee protection zones going into effect on Nov. 15, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions boaters to be vigilant about slowing down and watching out for manatees. In Broward County, some slow speed zones formerly active only on weekends are now in effect every day during the cold season. November is designated as Manatee Awareness Month because of this seasonal migration.
“Many manatees in Florida have scars from run-ins with boats. We can do our part to help by complying with slow-speed and no-entry zones that indicate manatees may be in the area,” said Kipp Frohlich, who leads the FWC’s imperiled species management section. “Boaters should slow down where manatees like to congregate, such as seagrass beds and warm-water sites.”
How to spot Florida’s official marine mammal?
Boaters and personal watercraft operators should scan the water near or in front of their vessels and look for signs that manatees are close by, including repetitive swirl patterns called a manatee footprint, a mud trail, or a snout or fluke (tail) breaking the water’s surface.
For a complete list of boating rules and regulations and other information, please visit FWC's Manatee page here: http://www.myfwc.com/Manatee
Posted by Caryn Self-Sullivan, PhD at 7:19 AM
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
http://sirenian.org/sirenews/58OCT2012.pdf. Older issues are archived here: http://sirenian.org/sirenews.html
In this Issue:
- Sirenia Specialist Group Update
- Tribute to Dr. Edward "Ed" Keith
- Book Announcement: Sirenian Conservation: Issues and Strategies in Developing Countries
- News from the Secretariat to the UNEP/CMS Dugong MOU
- English Language Writing Assistance
- Third International Conference on Marine Mammals of Southeast Asia (SEAMAM III)
- Local News from Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Iran, Suriname, and the United States of America
- Recent Literature
Sirenews is the official newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Sirenia Specialist Group. As such, please remember that Sirenews is an informal forum, not to be considered citable, formally-published literature; it is NOT "peer-reviewed", and contributions to it should not be quoted nor cited without the written permission of the author. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of IUCN or other organizations.
Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year in April and October and is edited by Cynthia R. Taylor and James A. Powell, Sea to Shore Alliance. Sirenews is supported by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and archived by Sirenian International. Submission deadlines are April 1 and October 1. Material may be submitted by e-mail to: Cynthia Taylor (ctaylor at sea2shore dot org).
Posted by Caryn Self-Sullivan, PhD at 1:00 AM
Sunday, December 04, 2011
|Photo by Matthew Beck|
Griselda, an extremely successful mother manatee is gone forever from the Florida manatee population due to a boat strike that broke her shoulder blade and dislocated her 4th rib on the left side--rupturing her aorta. She died of internal bleeding, probably within an hour of being hit. Griselda was lactating, which means there is an orphan calf out there somewhere...hopefully old enough to survive on its own.
Unfortunately, this is the not the first time I've witnessed this cause of death. One of the known manatees in Belize died in exactly the same way a few years ago, also leaving an orphaned calf. This type of injury often leaves no external marks, no propeller cuts, and no bruising -- only a necropsy can determine the cause of death in such a case. It occurs when the foot of an engine strikes the manatee on the back resulting in acute force at the point where the ribs attach to the spine. In both cases that I've witnessed, the 4th left rib was subluxed (dislocated downward) piercing a large vein or artery near the heart. As the heart continues to beat, blood is pumped out of the circulatory system into the muscles or body cavity. Death generally comes within minutes.
Manatees have evolved over millions of years to be extremely successful in shallow aquatic environments. But, they are not well designed for competition with motorized boats, which have only been around a few years. We humans, as operators of these powerful machines, must take responsibility for preventing such deadly encounters. Download this brochure and learn how to prevent tragic mortality events in Florida: http://sirenian.org/Florida_Manatee_Brochure_1.pdf
Related News Stories:
Posted by Caryn Self-Sullivan, Ph.D. at 9:31 AM
Sunday, July 24, 2011
|Photo from |
Save-the-Manatee Adopt Chessie Certificate
Chessie was sighted in Calvert County, Md. on Tuesday, 12 July 2011, when he came to the surface to take a breath, according to the USGS Sirenia Project. The last time we had a confirmed sighting was when he patiently waited for the Virginia Great Bridge Locks to open on Aug. 30, 2001!
Although Florida manatee scientists "rescued" Chessie the first time he was sighted in The Bay back in 1994, they are not worried this time because the water is still very warm up here. And besides, Chessie has proven to be an excellent navigator between New England and Florida over the years, always returning to warmer waters each winter.
Not only is Chessie a remarkable manatee...he actually taught 'us' scientists that some manatees can and do successfully migrate thousands of miles on a regular basis. For those of you who don't know the story, a historical timeline account can be found at our Chessie Watch Page.
There are several children's books dedicated to Chessie, the famous manatee who visits the Chesapeake Bay...possibly every year! My favorite is Chessie, the Travelin' Man available from our Sirenian International Gift Shop.
I adopted Chessie from Save the Manatee Club many years ago and the photo above is from that adoption kit. You can also adopt Chessie and many other Florida manatees from Save the Manatee Club's Adopt-A-Manatee Program! He's listed under East Coast Adoptees along with Ilya, another male manatee known to travel north during the hot summer months. Search our blog archives for articles about Ilya!
USGS Press Release: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2855
Posted by Caryn Self-Sullivan, Ph.D. at 8:43 AM