November is Manatee Awareness Month, and Florida wildlife officials want boaters to be aware of manatees on the move during their migration period.
With temperatures starting to drop, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson says it’s important people on the water slow down for manatees.
“Manatees can’t tolerate cold water,” said Segelson. “So, they start to seek warmer water, and therefore, they’re more active at this time. So, the Manatee Awareness Month brings that to people’s attention.”
She says there are many ways to help lookout for the sea cow.
“So, one of those things is to wear polarized sunglasses, so you can see below the surface of the water, and certainly, observe any speed zones,” Segelson added.
Still, she says they do want people to enjoy the manatees, but from a respectful distance. Statewide seasonal protection zones go into effect November 15th. FWC officers will also be patrolling the areas.
FWC officials also urge people to call or text their FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at 1-888-404-3922 for sightings of injured, sick, or dead manatees. For more information, visit myFWC.com/Manatee.