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Researcher: Florida Manatee Deaths Wane Due To Mild Winter
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TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- 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 and click on "Manatee Mortality Statistics."

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

2 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Why not make it a sizeable, well publicized fine and loss of boating priviledges for boaters to exceed posted speed limits around known manatee areas? More availabe warm water outlets at power plants would be very helpful.
   comment# 1   - Regnald Spencer · Lake Suzy, Florida, 34269 · Jan 9, 2013 @ 10:16pm

A Nuclear Power Plant would be a good source of warm water for the Mantas and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Ups,I forgot this administration only spends my money on Windmills,electric cars and batteries.
   comment# 2   - James Butler · FlintTx,United States · Jan 10, 2013 @ 3:11pm
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