Manatees on the move, boaters cautioned to keep sharp lookout
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3200
With the onset of colder weather, large numbers of
manatees in Lee County are congregating in warm-water refuges to
protect themselves from falling water temperatures. The Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions boaters to
maintain a sharp lookout, slow to idle speed and use extreme
caution when manatees are sighted.
Concentrations of these gentle giants are moving up
the main channel of the Caloosahatchee River, headed toward the
Orange River and local canals. Other areas such as Mullock Creek
and Ten Mile Creek also are places manatees are likely to gather.
High concentrations of these animals may also be found at the
entrances to these waterways.
During cooler months, manatees traveling to and
from thermal refuges are particularly vulnerable to collisions with
To detect the presence of manatees, boaters should
wear polarized sunglasses and look for swirls that resemble huge
footprints on the top of the water. A repetitive line of half-moon
swirls, a mud trail or any snout or a tail that breaks the surface
can indicate the presence of manatees.
"Any area with a warm-water outflow has the
potential to harbor manatees and provide protection from the blast
of cold air that arrived last week," said Capt. Denis Grealish, FWC
law enforcement supervisor for Lee and Charlotte counties.
Injured or sick manatees should be reported to
FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
The FWC also reminds boaters that officers will be
out in force throughout the area to ensure that vessels are being
operated safely and in compliance with manatee protection zone
Visit MyFWC.com/Manatee for more information on