Several people have been asking how the manatees are doing in southwest Florida with all the red tide, blue-green algae issues. FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) keeps track of the deaths of manatees across the State. At the time I am posting this (12/14/18) the last update from FWC was for January 1 – December 7, 2018 findings and they report a total of 207 manatee deaths related to red tide. 91 are positive with 116 as suspect. The numbers are preliminary. They detect the red tide and positive Brevetoxin by ELISA analysis in the stomach contents, liver, urine and other collected samples of deceased manatees.
Overall, manatee deaths thus far in 2018 total 779 (between January 1 – December 7, 2018). In 2013, there was a record high of 799 manatee deaths across the State of Florida, with the main factor being an extreme cold snap in the area.
Watercraft continues to be the leading cause of death, despite the posted manatee zones, Florida has a huge recreational boater opportunity. Many visitors to Florida love to rent a boat for the day and explore the area, however, not always familiar with the “rules of the road”, speed zones, and our wonderful wildlife that live within and along these precious waterways. We attempt to provide a safe tour opportunity for visitors to southwest Florida by taking them on the M/V River Queen that has dedicated propeller shields on each motor. We obey the speed zones and laws on the water and want to educate our guests about these really awesome creatures!
Do I wish we could save the all? Absolutely! Is it realistic? No…. you can only do the best you can… one manatee at a time… educating one person at a time… and passing it along. Thank you for your interest in southwest Florida. Thank you for visiting the area. Thank you for your support. 2018 has been a very difficult year for everyone because of the water quality issues, decrease in activity due to the deaths of fish, turtles, manatee, whale sharks, dolphin, birds, etc.
It wasn’t until recently when things began to calm down that we opened our scheduling again for tours. We will continue to educate and do our part to sustain the community and provide a hopefully enjoyable excursion when you’re on the M/V River Queen. We look forward to seeing you soon!