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To report manatee harassment, injuries, deaths or orphaned calves, please contact the FWC Resource Protection hotline at  # 1-888-404-FWCC (3922)

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A Manatee Swimming

Image from http://www.dosits.org/

 

Manatees are forced from their preferred habitats by boaters, divers, and people fishing. Such harassment can lead to the separation of mother and calf. Harassment refers to any act which causes the manatee to change its behavior and can include: pursuing, chasing, poking, prodding, grabbing, riding and even FEEDING a manatee. Feeding manatees disrupts the normal foraging behavior and conditions them to accept food from people. Some people may use this opportunity to feed them dangerous non-food items. The manatee was officially declared endangered in 1973, as part of the original endangered species listing for the Federal Endangered Species Act however, accounts of vandalism and even poaching have been reported and have resulted in several manatee deaths.

Manatee Rules

Do not pursue or chase a manatee when you encounter one while you're swimming, snorkeling, diving or operating a boat.

Never poke, prod or stab a manatee with your hands, feet or any object.

If a manatee avoids you, you should avoid it.

Give manatees space to move. Don't isolate or single out an individual manatee from its group, and don't separate a cow and her calf. Even a few moments of separation could result in loss of communication which could be fatal.

Don't attempt to snag, hook, hold, grab, pinch or ride a manatee.

Please respect these gentle giants, their one and only threat is humans.

Use snorkel gear when attempting to watch manatees. The sound of bubbles from SCUBA gear may cause manatees to leave the area.

Float at the surface of the water to passively observe the manatees.

Fines up to $100,000 can occur if the rules are ignored.

It is your duty to report any harassment or misfortune of these awesome creatures.

 

 
A Swimming Manatee Animation

 

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