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Manatee Deaths Continue to Trend Downward


Florida - Thursday May 9, 2024: After seeing a surge of deaths in 2021 and 2022, the number of manatees dying in Florida continues to drop.

As of May 3rd, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission statistics show that 246 sea cows have died in Florida waters so far this year. That is the fewest number at this point of the year since 2019.

The current total is nearly three times lower than the record pace of deaths in 2021 when 11 hundred manatees died, many due to starvation related to a lack of seagrass to eat.

View the FWC 2024 Preliminary Manatee Mortality Report HERE.

Lee County, in Southwest Florida, leads the state with 47 sea cow deaths this year, followed by Brevard County on the Space Coast.

Beyond starvation and red tide, a top cause of death is watercraft collisions. Save The Manatee Club Executive Director Patrick Rose says it’s important for Florida boaters to give the animals space.

“If you are in an area where there are manatees, look out for them," said Rose. "If you’re operating your boat, look for them, slow down and take precautions so as not to strike them. If you see a sick or injured manatee, you really should call that in.”

If you spot a sick, injured, or orphaned manatee, or a manatee that is being harassed, report it immediately by calling 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).