11 November 2010 Warm Welcome for Florida Manatees Posted by: Caitlin Leutwiler | 2 comments | Share: Manatees migrating to warmer waters will be greeted with open arms this year in Citrus County, Florida. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced an emergency rule to expand protected areas for the temperature-sensitive marine mammals, creating a refuge that includes all of Kings Bay in Crystal River. Photo courtesy Jim Reid/USFWS Due to its naturally occurring warm water springs, Kings Bay has been increasingly popular among wintering manatees. So much, in fact, that the existing protected area has not proved large enough to fit them all! Under this emergency rule (made possible through the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act), the Service will have management options to immediately address the needs of the increasing number of manatees coming to the area. These new provisions couldn’t have come at a better time, with manatee deaths already at a record high this year, mostly due to cold-related causes. The rules will ensure the sea cows will have greater access to critical warm water areas during the winter months and address public concerns associated with local, wintertime manatee viewing activities. Elizabeth Fleming Elizabeth Fleming, Defenders’ Florida representative said, “The emergency rule provides flexibility for wildlife managers on-the-ground to increase the areas manatees use as warm water refuges as needed. It will help the animals take shelter from the cold and protect them from inquisitive people who can cause harm to the vulnerable mammals.” November is Manatee Awareness Month! Celebrate by learning more: Read more about Florida manatees and what Defenders is doing to protect them. See how YOU can help manatees make way to warmer waters. 2 Responses to “Warm Welcome for Florida Manatees” Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in The House’s Continued Assault on Endangered Species The House continues to turn its back on the Endangered Species Act by weakening and eliminating protection for imperiled wildlife. Wolf Weekly Wrap Up Fish and Wildlife Service Holds Public Meetings to Determine Fate of Mexican Gray Wolves; Six Mexican Gray Wolves Released in New Mexico; How Do People Form Their Opinions About Wolves? A Field Day with Gopher Tortoises Our Florida staff members spent a field day at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve to learn more about the reproductive and burrowing habits of gopher tortoises.