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 Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Oregon Wolves Headed Towards Delisting? Anti-Wolf Bills Proposed in Washington State Visiting Elkhorn Slough – The Hidden Gem of California’s Central Coast Wetlands like Elkhorn Slough provide critical habitat for imperiled and endangered species. Dreaming of a White Winter Maintaining connections between forests and snowshoe hares will help the animal navigate climate change.