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More Manatees Dying From Boat Strikes

Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus), Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida. Photo: Tracy Colson, US Fish and Wildlife Service

The number of manatee deaths related to boat collisions is up.

Eighty-nine manatees have been killed this year in boat collisions. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the five-year average for this time of year is 55.

Wildlife authorities speculate the surge may be related to more boating activity.

Last year was tough for Florida’s manatees, too.

Boat collisions, cold weather and red tide were blamed for 824 deaths, up from 538 the year before. Some 200 deaths were blamed on red tide.

The manatee was reclassified in 2017 as threatened rather than endangered. Its population in Florida is estimated to be between 7,000 and 10,000 animals.



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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »