Underwatertimes.com News Service - December 19, 2009 11:33 EST

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute documented 419 manatee carcasses in state waters as of Dec. 11. This preliminary data indicates that the total number of manatee deaths for 2009 has surpassed the highest number on record for a calendar year.

Preliminary totals for 2009 will be available on Wednesday, Jan. 6, unless there is an unusually high number of manatee carcasses reported in the next two weeks. A statewide perspective on these numbers, including category breakdowns will be available at that time.

To report a dead or distressed manatee, call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).