FWC: Annual Florida manatee count breaks record for the third time

by

comment
PHOTO VIA FWC
  • Photo via FWC
The future is looking up for Florida's manatee population.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported Monday a preliminary count of 6,620 manatees in Florida waters.



The past three years have held a steady increase in the manatee population, with at least 6,000 counted per year. In 2016, manatees were officially taken off the endangered species list. However, manatees are still considered threatened.

This is promising news considering last year Florida boaters were responsible for nearly 100 manatee deaths, which was a new record for the Sunshine State.
PHOTO VIA FWC
  • Photo via FWC
Researchers with the FWC determine the number of manatees by performing an annual survey after a cold front to determine the head count. Approximately 3,488 manatees total were found on Florida's east coast, and 3,132 were found on the west coast. According to FWC, this year's count was aided by low winds, sunny weather and good visibility.



FWC biologist Gill McRae said the warm water is most important for keeping populations on the rise. "The relatively high counts we have seen for the past three years underscore the importance of warm water habitat to manatees in Florida. The FWC will continue to work diligently with our many partners to ensure the long-term viability of these habitats and the well-being of the manatee population."

Want to support the manatees? You can buy a cool manatee license plate here.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.