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manatees

Residents of Marion County saw Manatees gather in the Silver River last winter. That’s raising eyebrows with the folks at the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The organization is now investing in research to find out why Manatees are changing where they swim.

The number of manatee deaths caused by watercraft could hit an all-time high in Florida this year.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

By The Associated Press

The number of manatee deaths caused by watercraft could hit an all-time high in Florida this year.

From the beginning of this year through June 21, 81 manatees have been killed by watercraft in Florida's waters. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say 59 manatees died during the same period in 2018.

Scores of dolphins have died along Florida's southwest coast due to the red tide bloom in the past year, federal researchers said.
Mote Marine Laboratory

Associated Press

 Scores of dolphins have died along Florida's southwest coast due to the red tide bloom in the past year, federal researchers said.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park is caring for four new manatees transferred to the facility from Sea World.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

Three adult manatees and one calf have found a temporary home at ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

Zoo staff welcomed the arrival of the animals Thursday during media tours of the new facility, which was closed for several months for state-funded renovations totaling $3 million.

It’s been a deadly year for manatees, but Florida wildlife officials believe there are more of the threatened marine mammals than they previously thought.

It’s been a tough year for Florida manatees. Red tide and cold snaps have led to their highest death rate since 2013, and that death rate could still go up. 

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A manatee famous for traveling as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has died after being hit by a boat back home in the Florida Keys.

Consistently cold waters were responsible for the largest portion of Florida manatee deaths in January.

More Than 6,000 Manatees Counted In Florida

Jan 30, 2018
David Hinkle/USFWS

More than 6,000 manatees were counted in Florida, for the fourth consecutive year.

The count was part of a statewide annual aerial survey.

The survey serves as a loose population count. It’s conducted during Florida’s coldest days as manatees gather for warmth near deep canals, natural springs and power plants.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Palm Beach County officials are reminding boaters to slow down -- it’s manatee season.

‘Operation Mermaid’ is a multi-agency effort to protect manatees from being injured by boats.

Local police departments patrolling Palm Beach County’s inlets and the Intracoastal Waterway are stepping up enforcement of speed violations.

“We don’t want anybody speeding where they shouldn’t be,” said West Palm Beach Police Officer Mickey Allen. “They could not only hit manatee, but hurt themselves as well.”

David Hinkle / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The year that just ended was a deadly one for manatees in Florida.

Preliminary data shows that 538 manatees were found dead in Florida waterways last year, according to state officials.

As Florida experiences unusually cold temperatures and even snow in some parts, wildlife officials are keeping a close eye on vulnerable manatees and sea turtles.

Susan Giles Wantuck / WUSF Public Media

A Florida group trying to preserve Confederate monuments is backing a new effort: erecting a statue of Snooty the manatee.

Susan Giles Wantuck / WUSF Public Media

Snooty, the longest living manatee in captivity, died Sunday in Bradenton, a day after a huge party to celebrate his 69th birthday, according to the South Florida Museum.

Some Florida lawmakers want manatees back on the endangered species list.


The number of manatee deaths caused by watercraft could hit an all-time high in Florida this year.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Researchers say Florida's manatee population could double over the next half century if wildlife managers continue protecting the creatures and their habitat.

One of the symbols of Florida is no longer an endangered species. That's according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which announced Thursday they're downlisting the manatee from endangered to threatened. Manatees have been classified as endangered since the first federal endangered species list was issued in 1967.

More manatees than ever - 6,300 - were counted during the winter, when they congregate around springs and warm power plant outfalls. But last year, more than one hundred manatees were killed, mostly by boaters.

Florida wildlife officials say their annual manatee survey counted 6,620 of the sea cows — the most since the state began the census in 1991.

Manatees are again dying from a mysterious syndrome in Florida's Indian River Lagoon.

David Hinkle / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Scientists invited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to weigh in on a proposal to reclassify the West Indian manatee as threatened rather than endangered are arguing against the change.

Should Manatees Be Dropped From The Endangered Species List?

Apr 4, 2016
The number of manatee deaths caused by watercraft could hit an all-time high in Florida this year.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A 90-day comment period wraps up this week on whether the West Indian manatee should be reclassified as a “threatened” species. U.S. Fish and Wildlife insists that if the West Indian manatee is downlisted to “threatened” from “endangered,” that all the protection measures in place now would remain.

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The number of manatees in Florida seems to be steady, according to a study released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Lottie Watts / WUSF News

Florida's population of the iconic manatee has risen in recent years, so much so that federal  wildlife officials say they're no longer endangered, and could be down-listed to threatened by next year. 

Feds Seek to Change Manatee Status to 'Threatened'

Jan 8, 2016

Pointing to increased numbers of manatees and improved habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday it wants to change the status of the sea cows from endangered to threatened.

Cuba coral
Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The United States and Cuba signed an agreement Wednesday to join forces and protect the vast array of fish and corals they share as countries separated by just 90 miles (140 kilometers), the first environmental accord since announcing plans to renew diplomatic relations.

"We recognize we all share the same ocean and face the same challenges of understanding, managing, and conserving critical marine resources for future generations," said Kathryn Sullivan, chief of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The United States and Cuba are teaming up to safeguard marine life in protected areas in the Florida Straits and the Gulf of Mexico. The two governments – and scientists from each country – will share resources and best management practices to help protect habitats and fish populations.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary will establish a sister sanctuary relationship with Cuba’s Guanahacabibes National Park, and the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Texas will be paired with Banco de San Antonio, off the western tip of Cuba.

AP

By midnight, the basement of one of Havana's hottest clubs is packed wall-to-wall for a private concert by one of Cuba's biggest pop stars.

Wikipedia Commons

Business groups are again suing federal wildlife managers to try and force them to lessen legal protections for Florida's beloved manatees.

The Pacific Legal Foundation on Friday filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Ocala. The lawsuit seeks to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lessen legal protections for the sea cows.

Among concerns voiced by boaters and businesses are federal boat speed restrictions that they claim harm fishing and tourism on King's Bay, a popular manatee wintering spot.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

To most Floridians, manatees are cute, docile creatures that hang out in crowded springs, and often get too close to boats -- or rather, boats get too close to them. But down on the other side of the Florida Straits, they sometimes end up on someone's dinner table.

WUSF's Steve Newborn recently tagged along with Dr. James “Buddy” Powell of Sea to Shore Alliance -- a Sarasota-based conservation group -- on an expedition to Cuba to find out how manatees are doing in the waters off the island.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Most Floridians see manatees as cute, roly-poly animals that hang out in crowded springs and get too close to boats. Travel south a bit - to Cuba - and their plight is very different. There, the animals often end up as somebody's dinner. WUSF recently traveled with a Sarasota-based conservation group  to the island, where their groundbreaking trip tried to find ways to save this iconic creature.

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