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manatees

Aerial survey shows increasing manatee count

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Florida manatees are thriving during this warm, sunny winter. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) count found the highest number of sea cows since 1991 and the third straight year of a minimum count greater than 6,000 during its annual flyover of popular manatee spots. A team of 15 observers from 10 organizations counted 3,488 manatees on Florida’s east coast and 3,132 on the west coast of the state during the aerial survey. That top’s last year’s county…

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Florida: Record number of manatees killed in 2016 by boats

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A record number of manatees were killed in 2016 by boat strikes, according to state wildlife data, but overall the number of the beloved sea cows increased in Florida this year. Data posted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission data show that 98 endangered manatees died by watercraft strikes between Jan. 1 and Dec. 2. The previous record was 97 in 2009, according to state records. A count earlier this year found about 6,300 manatees in Florida, which…

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Manatees flock to 72-degree springs to escape cold

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Like most sensible creatures, manatees – the sea cows that live in the waters around Florida – seek warmth when it’s cold. On Thursday morning, roughly 500 of the gentle, aquatic giants crowded into the Three Sisters Springs as temperatures along Florida’s Gulf Coast dipped below 50 degrees. “They’re basically chilling in the springs sleeping,” said Ivan Vincente, visitor services specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. “They’re spending the vast majority of…

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U.S. wildlife officials decide on manatee status petition

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Federal wildlife officials will announce their decision on a petition to reclassify Florida’s iconic manatees as “threatened” instead of “endangered.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon in Miami to discuss its review of the manatee’s status. A Florida business group and the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the government in 2012 to reclassify the manatee, citing a 2007 federal review that recommended listing the species as threatened because the population is recovering.…

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More than 6,000 manatees counted in Florida waters this year

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Volunteers from 11 different agencies counted more than 6,000 manatees in Florida waters last month. That’s nearly 1,000 more than were counted five years ago the last time such a high count was conducted. The 20 volunteer observers counted 3,333 manatees along the Atlantic coast and 2,730 in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission attribute this year’s success with warm temperatures and sunny days. “Manatees used warm-water sites and other winter habitat areas…

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