Florida’s Manatees Suffering Another Bad Year
Florida - Tuesday October 25, 2022: The all-time-record manatee die-off in 2021 will likely be followed by the second worst on record based on figures through the first ten months, according to a news release issued by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
"Unfortunately, the factors driving high manatee mortality have not been curbed and may be worsening," states the release from PEER.
The latest reports from Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission indicate that 717 manatees have perished as of October 14th. That preliminary figure is already substantially above the five-year annual average mortality of 567.
“Last year’s manatee emergency is continuing with full force,” stated Colleen Teubner, Litigation and Policy Attorney at PEER, pointing out that another 91 manatees are in rehabilitation facilities, some of which are not expected to recover sufficiently for release. “Prospects for a sustainable manatee population in the wild are dimming.”
The State of Florida projects a 30% to 50% decline in manatee population over the next 60 years due to the triple threat of rising boat traffic, loss of habitat (particularly warm springs), and red tides and algal blooms poisoning the manatees and their food supplies.
“Without knowing more about the drivers of manatee mortality, an overall survival strategy for the remaining population is problematic, to say the least,” added Teubner. “All we do know is that Florida offers less and less safe and healthy habitat for manatees with each passing year.”
To report a tagged, sick, injured or dead manatee call the FWC's Wildlife Alert Toll-Free Number: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922), press "7" to speak with an operator.
Cellular phone users should enter - *FWC or #FWC.