To call attention to Endangered Species Day, which is May 15th, Save the Manatee Club wants the public to be aware that manatee deaths are up this year compared with recent years, with high numbers of watercraft mortalities (33). Manatees are listed as endangered on the international, national, and state levels.
“A total of 200 manatees were confirmed dead as of May 1st,” said Dr. Katie Tripp, Save the Manatee Club’s Director of Science & Conservation. “Cold stress was a significant cause of manatee mortality this winter, with 47 confirmed deaths, but some other forms of mortality, including watercraft mortality, have also exceeded the 5-year average so far in 2009. In 2006, which was the deadliest year for manatees, with 417 confirmed deaths for the entire year, 159 had died by May 1st, suggesting that 2009 could set a new mortality record if trends from early 2009 continue. With the end of winter and the start of the summer boating season, it will be as important as ever to be on the lookout for manatees so that additional watercraft injuries and deaths can be minimized for the remainder of 2009.”
To learn more about manatees, visit Save the Manatee Club’s website at www.savethemanatee.org.