Boaters warned to look out for migrating manatees in Florida

(Seaworld Orlando)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s beloved manatees are on the move looking for warmer waters, and state officials are warning boaters that the whiskered marine mammals can pose a hazard.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that seasonal protection zones for manatees are going into effect on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

So far there have been 91 reported manatee deaths this year from boat strikes, and officials want boaters to slow down and keep an eye out.

The state says efforts to protect the watery beasts have helped: aerial counts by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show numbers are up around the state.

But in Wakulla Springs State Park, counts by boat have shown a downturn in numbers there.

Carol Knox of FWC says boaters who slow down have contributed to the animals’ wellbeing.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.