The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Protecting our Wildlife, Caution when Boating
Let's remember our wild neighbors when boating in the beaches, bays, rivers, and springs of sunny, fun filled Florida! Remember that manatees, our warm blooded, aquatic sea cows will congregate in warm waters as the tempertures drop.
Image Credit: ENS
From my friends at the FWC:
"Recent cold weather means high numbers of manatees may be concentrated in warm-water refuges near power plants, rivers and springs throughout the state. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions boaters to be on the lookout for manatees moving into the Intracoastal Waterway to reach warm-water refuges at power plants and springs. Boaters should slow down and strictly obey posted speed restrictions in manatee protection zones.
Image Credit: Wkipedia
"When the weather changes, large numbers of these mammals move in and out of warm-water refuges and feeding areas," said Kipp Frohlich, the FWC's Imperiled Species Section leader. "That's when the greatest danger from boat strikes occurs. This pattern will repeat itself as winter cold fronts come and go."
The FWC and its law enforcement partners will be increasing patrols and strictly enforcing manatee-protection-zone speed limits to aid the animals during this period when they are most vulnerable to vessel strikes.
To avoid striking manatees, vessel operators should wear polarized sunglasses to help them spot the creatures in the water; and watch for the large, tell-tale circular slicks on the surface of the water (manatee footprints) that indicate the presence of manatees."
For more information on Florida's manatees, visit MyFWC.com/Manateehttp://myfwc.com/Manatee. To report an injured or dead manatee, please call the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
UPDATE: The cold weather earlier this year led to a record high number of manatee deaths in 2010. From the beginning of the year through Dec. 5, biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) documented 699 manatee carcasses in state waters.
This preliminary data indicates the number of manatee deaths documented from Jan. 1 through Dec. 5 is nearly double the five-year average for that time period. There is more, read the report here.
Though he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com. He will get back to you, even if he is in Afghanistan!