Monday, January 5, 2009

FWC releases preliminary 2008 manatee mortality data

FWC-FWRI Press Release

Date: Monday, January 5, 2009, 1:00 PM

For immediate release: January 5, 2009  FWC releases preliminary 2008 manatee mortality data  Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's  (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute documented 337 manatee  carcasses in state waters in 2008. The low number of red tide-related  mortalities last year helped the number of documented manatee deaths  remain below the five-year average of 357.  Watercraft strikes and perinatal (newborn) deaths were the two most  commonly documented manatee mortality categories in 2008. The numbers for  both categories were above the five-year average. Biologists documented 90  watercraft-related deaths and a record high of 101 newborn deaths.  Biologists report that a variety of factors could have contributed to the  high number of newborn deaths in 2008. These factors include the  possibility that there were more manatee births or that biologists  recovered a higher proportion of manatee calf carcasses.  The FWC uses trends in mortality figures to monitor ongoing and emerging  threats to the manatee population. Throughout the year, FWC researchers,  managers and law enforcement staff work closely together to evaluate  mortality data and identify necessary actions. FWC law enforcement, in  cooperation with partner agencies, uses knowledge of local boating habits,  well-posted speed zones, and up-to-date manatee information to focus  on-the-water enforcement operations. Enforcing manatee protection zones  and informing boaters about manatee conservation is a priority for the  FWC.  To report a dead or injured manatee, call the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline  at 888-404-FWCC.  For additional information about manatee conservation, visit For more information on manatee mortality research,  visit 

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