• Jacksonville Zoo speaks out about how boaters can avoid hitting manatees

    By: Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Wildlife officials are asking boaters to be careful on the water this holiday weekend to protect manatees.

    Despite an attempted rescue, a Mayport manatee did not survive her trip to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Manatee Critical Care Center on Wednesday.

    According to the zoo, she was hit by a boat.

    “Unfortunately, it’s pretty common for these animals to get hit,” said the zoo’s Curator of Mammals Craig Miller.

    Miller said a majority of the manatees that arrive at the critical care center have scars from propellers.

    He said the center just had to put down another manatee that had been hit by a boat last week.

    To keep manatees safe, FWC suggests boaters:

    • Designate someone on board to look out for manatees while the boat is moving.
    • Look for a circular wave pattern left by their tails, known as manatee footprints.
    • Wear polarized sunglasses, which reduce glare and help to see manatees better underwater.

    Even if you’re not out on a boat, you can help.

    If you see a manatee that has fresh injuries or is floating high in the water, call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWC (3922).

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    Miller said boaters should not be afraid to call the hotline if they’ve hit a manatee.

    “They don’t have to admit it was them that hit the manatee. Number one is the manatee – the well-being of the animal,” said Miller.

    You can find more information on how boaters can protect manatees here.

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