The good news: Florida manatee deaths decreased in 2012
The bad news: The threat to these endangered marine mammals still remains
This year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recorded only 392 Florida manatee deaths. This is down from a record high of 766 in 2010, and 453 in 2011.
Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), have been federally protected since 1967 and their deaths have been recorded in Florida since 1974.
The current population is estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 individuals. While death rates are on the decline, they are still threatened by habitat loss from development and climate change and boat traffic. Contact with watercraft remains the number one killer of manatees, followed by cold weather stress.
To learn more:
- Find out some Fun Facts About Manatees
- Read the full article from Scientific American: Fewer Manatee Deaths in 2012, but Threats Remain
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manatee reports: 2012 & 2011
- Check out this article about another threat to manatees: Lack of genetic diversity threatens manatees, study says
- Check out this article: Health of Manatees Indicates Overall Health of Marine Ecosystems
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