Over 160 manatees dead in 2018


SARASOTA – Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties have had three, four, and six manatee deaths, in that order, according to state data. three of the deaths in manatee and Sarasota were from cold water.

“We’ve had cold weather. we’ve had red tide, which are both kind of bad things for the manatees in our area,” said Gretchen Lovewell who is the Stranding Investigations Program Manager of Mote Laboratory.

“With the red tide we look for different things from the animals like facial twitching and seizuring. they kind of look like they’re drunk in the water.when the animals are cold they actually get sores around the edges of their body, their face, and their tale,” said Lovewell

Sea cows are stratling between endangered and threatened so when using your water vehicles, be mindful

“Pay attention to the no wake zones those are put in place for a good reason, that’s where we know animals hang out. Things like wearing polarized sun glasses so that you can see through the water, so you can see those animals,” said Lovewell. “Just staying super alert and aware of your surroundings and paying attention because we’re guests in their home.”

The public can help reduce manatee deaths by reporting unusual manatee behavior to FWC’s wildlife alert hotline, 888-404-FWCC

Mote Aquarium’s hotline number is 941-988-0212.

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Jessika Ward is a Sarasota native and an award-winning multimedia journalist. She joined the Suncoast News Network in February of 2018 and is happy to be back in her hometown. Jessika won three Florida Associated Press Awards while a student at Florida A&M University. Prior to coming to SNN, Jessika interned with WWSB ABC7 and worked as a videographer/editor at WTXL ABC27 in Tallahassee. ​​Jessika Ward is a proud rattler and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) advocate. She shares her HBCU experience in "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” a documentary about the history and future of HBCU's that was presented in the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS. Jessika's hobbies include photography, watching independent films, watching sports, and reading a good book.


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