Florida has had its lowest manatee death toll since 2019

Florida has had its lowest manatee death toll since 2019
Florida has had its lowest manatee death toll since 2019

Manatee feeding at the FP&L plant in Cocoa

The media was invited to see the manatee feeding at the FP&L plant in Cocoa.

Malcolm Denemark, Florida Today

Florida has had its lowest number of manatee deaths since 2019, as the threatened species rebounds from a record die-off.

As of April 26, the most recent data available, 230 manatees have died so far this year, according to the most recent available statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. By comparison, 265 manatees had died this time last year, and 532 the previous year.

What is the record for manatee deaths?

By April 26, 2021, at least 704 manatees had died, a year in which a record 1,100 manatees died, most of starvation due to seagrass loss. There were 358 manatee deaths that year in Brevard County.

Many of the manatees died near Merritt Island.

What’s the five-year average?

The five year average through this point of the year is 394 manatee deaths, compared to 230 so far this year.

How do this year’s deaths break down?

This year’s deaths included 30 by watercraft, the same as last year and four less than the five-year average. Also this year, there were 56 manatees that died within a year of birth, compared with a five-year average of 30 so-called “perinatal” deaths. Also, 25 died this year from natural causes, nine from cold stress, 15 from undetermined/other causes, five from other human causes, and 90 dead manatees were not examined after death.

Which counties had the most manatee deaths?

So far this year, Lee County has had the most manatee deaths, 44, followed by Brevard with 31 deaths: 20 perinatal, one by watercraft, one “other human,” three natural, three undetermined and three not examined.

How many manatees are there?

FWC estimates of statewide manatee population for the 2021-2022 period is 8,350–11,730 manatees, with 3,960–5,420 on the west coast and 3,940–6,980 on the east coast.

What do I do if I see a sick, injured of dead manatee?

Call FWC’s Wildlife Alert Toll-Free Number: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922), press “7” to speak with an operator.

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