After 12 straight days of much below normal temperatures in which manatees were struggling to survive the best they could, warmer temperatures may be a double-edged sword for our beloved maritime mammals, says the Sun-Sentinel:
Manatees that sought refuge in the warmer water around power plants in Broward and Palm Beach counties during the recent cold weather are on the move — and that means boaters need to be careful.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking boaters to be on the lookout as the weather warms and manatees swim into the Intracoastal Waterway to feed.
“As the weather warms, large numbers of these mammals will be moving out of warm-water refuges and headed toward feeding areas,” said commision Capt. David Schaeffer. “That’s when the greatest danger from boat strikes occurs. This pattern will repeat itself as winter cold fronts come and go.”
Boats should slow down and strictly obey posted speed restrictions in manatee protection zones.
Law enforcement officers say they will be increasing their patrols to make sure the speed limits are obeyed.
To avoid striking manatees, boaters should wear polarized sunglasses to help them spot the creatures in the water.
They also should watch for the large, tell-tale circular slicks on the surface of the water that indicate the presence of manatees.
The commission says more information can be found at MyFWC.com/Manatee.
The agency has set up a hotline to report injured or dead manatees: 888-404-3922.
I thought we should always be careful for manatees. To me, this is example of a media outlet trying to make news out of something that is quite routine. Anyway, it’s not a bad reminder.