Friday, November 16, 2012

Florida manatees on the Move!

As weather cools, Florida manatees move to warmer waters

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) 
Press Release: November 15, 2012
Contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291

Additional photos available on FWC’s Flickr site: Go to

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:

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