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Record Number of Manatees Gather in the Warm Waters of Blue Spring State Park

Blue Springs State Park
Florida State Parks

Florida - Tuesday February 6, 2024: A record number of 932 manatees gathered in the warm waters of Blue Springs Park last month, beating the previous record of 736 manatees observed on New Year’s Day, 2024.

The increased number of manatees comes following two years of record manatee deaths, most of whom died from apparent starvation. Wildlife officials, led by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, conducted a two-year feeding program which was discontinued this winter season after the health of the manatee population seemed to have improved, and reports that Sea Grass growth had improved in some areas. Sea Grass is the manatee's primary source of food.

During a visit to Blue Spring State Park in Orange City Tuesday Governor DeSantis highlighted his administration's funding to protect Florida’s manatees and improve water quality.

Governor DeSantis has prioritized funding for manatees and water quality improvements that enhance manatee habitats, investing over $50 million in manatee programs and more than $1.8 billion in water quality improvements since 2019. As a result, in 2023, Florida manatees had the lowest mortality rate since 2017. 

“Florida’s manatee population continues to strengthen because of our record investments in manatee protection programs and water quality improvements,” said Governor DeSantis. “I am grateful for FWC for their proactive rescue and rehabilitation efforts.”