A dead manatee, surrounded by other manatees, found in a waterway near Biscayne Bay in 2011.
Officials of a Broward County environmental division are asking boaters to heed the record number of manatee’s in the water during the colder weather, The Miami Herald reported.
The Natural Resources Planning and Management Division said the animals are swimming south for warmer waters, and therefore asking boaters to pay attention to their speed in manatee-protection zones, according to the newspaper.
“The current cold front should cause the number to jump back up well into the hundreds,’’ Pat Quinn, Marine Resources with Broward County NRPMD, was quoted as saying by the Herald.
The division said 477 manatees were counted during the first week of December alone, which is more than twice the historical average for the time.
Boaters should use caution in places especially near the Lauderdale Power Plant cooling lakes and Port Everglades’ Power Plant cooling canal.
Other popular grounds are the New River, South Fork of New River, Dania Canal Cutoff and surrounding waters of Port Everglades, the newspaper reported.
NRPMD also said polarized glasses can make it easier to spot “manatee footprints,” or circular slicks on the surface of the water.
As many as 78 manatees were killed by boats in 2012 in Florida. The season runs through March 31.