All photos are provided by master manatee photographer David Schricte, ManateePics.com
November is Manatee Awareness Month – Help Make a Safer Place for Manatees
November is an annual celebration and a dedication to manatee conservation in Florida. As manatees seek warm water sites during the cooler winter season, residents, visitors, and the boating community are reminded to watch for manatees and help safeguard them as they freely move about Florida’s shallow, slow-moving rivers, bays, estuaries, and coastal water ecosystems.
Every Monday in November we proclaim as #ManateeMonday on our Facebook, Twitter, and new Instagram social media sites. We started doing this in November of 2018 and find MOST Mondays’ in 2019 have continued to be #ManateeMonday. We are also anxiously awaiting the release of the new manatee emoji which is supposed to come out this month.
Make sure you socialize with us on our various pages. We have the BEST fans/followers and everyone adds so much to the whole Authentic Florida experience. Never hesitate to tag us in your photos or share your experiences with us on our various social media sites. One of the members of our Authentic Floridian friends is Photographer David Schricte. David has graciously allowed us to use his beautiful photos in our stories. We feature a lot of his photos/videos in our #ManateeMonday posts, too. Check out his website: www.ManateePics.com
Human activities are harming manatees, and only our compassion and action can protect them.
Manatees are Florida’s official state marine mammal. They are listed as endangered at the international level by the IUCN World Conservation Union. They are listed as threatened at the federal level by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and at the state level by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Their listing status is largely due to human activity. Since record-keeping began in 1974, more than 41% of manatee deaths where cause of death was identified were human-related – and almost 34% were due to watercraft collisions (the largest known cause of manatee deaths). With increased awareness, education, regulations, and enforcement, manatee deaths caused by humans could be substantially reduced, and the eventual recovery of the species could be realized.
Cold stress during the winter months takes a toll on the manatees as they are a subtropical species and cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Other causes of human-related mortalities include the ingestion of litter, fish hooks, and monofilament line; entanglement in crab trap lines, and being crushed and/or drowned in canal locks and flood control structures. It’s important that everyone is mindful and pays attention to these types of things.
If rescued in time, most manatees can recover, so report a sick manatee immediately to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Hotline at 1-888-404-3922, or send a text message or email to Tip@MyFWC.com. Use VHF Channel 16 on a marine radio.
Many seasonal manatee zones in Florida come into effect in November, and boaters are urged to pay close attention to posted signage indicating slow or idle speeds. Waterway users should also keep their distance from migrating manatees or manatees congregated at warm-water sites during the winter to avoid possible harassment. Never separate a mother from her calf as calves depend on their mothers for up to two years. Check out the videos, tips, and resources for boaters at savethemanatee.org/boatertips.
The public can be actively engaged in manatee and habitat protection by obtaining the Club’s free waterway signage, boating banners and decals, waterway cards, and educational posters. The shoreline property signs warn boaters to slow down for manatees and feature the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s hotline number (1-888-404-3922) to report sick, injured, orphaned, or harassed manatees. The Club also produces family-friendly outdoor signs for state, municipal, and county parks, marinas, and other sites where human/manatee interactions are a problem. View the free public awareness resources at savethemanatee.org/
We encourage you to visit Save the Manatee Club’s Blue Spring webcams at ManaTV.org to see manatees in real-time during manatee season or on an archived video. The webcams have become popular with viewers across the globe and have allowed the Club to monitor manatee behavior for research and health-related conditions. The site also features researcher Wayne Hartley’s daily blog on manatees visiting the spring. Hartley is the Club’s Manatee Specialist and a former park ranger at Blue Spring State Park. He has been researching the Blue Spring manatees since 1978.
Another way to help is by joining the Club’s Adopt-A-Manatee® program. Each “adoptive parent” learns about the species by following the real, living manatee they’ve chosen through adoption materials and follow-up newsletters the Club provides. To learn more, visit the adoption page of the website at savethemanatee.org/adopt.
Save the Manatee Club is an award-winning 501(c)(3) international nonprofit organization established in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. The Club’s mission is to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat for future generations. To accomplish its mission, the Club works closely with federal, state, and local governments, the media, and the public, and supports policies that are based on the best scientific data available. The Club raises public awareness; educates; sponsors research, rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts; supports land acquisition and aquatic habitat protection; advocates for improved on-the-water protection measures, and also supports education and conservation efforts in other countries. (The Save the Manatee Club is headquartered in Maitland, Florida)
Check out Save the Manatee Club’s website at savethemanatee.org for more information and other ways to get involved.
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