The cold spells experienced earlier on in the year have resulted in the record for killed manatees in 2010. Since the beginning of the year, up until the 5th of December, researchers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has counted a staggering 699 dead manatees floating about in state waters.

This number of deaths is double the average of killed manatees over the past half decade.

It was quite a shock to see so many cold related manatee deaths this year. What’s more astonishing that the number, is how far it was spread out. It spread throughout much of the State of Florida to as far south as the Everglades and even the Florida Keys – which aren’t normally known for cold related deaths of manatees.

Even though this cold spell was natural, the number of manatee deaths has drawn attention to the fact that warmer waters are needed for the species to pull through.

“We are very concerned about the unusually high number of manatee deaths this year. Data from our monitoring programs over the next few years will tell us if there are long-term implications for the population,” explains Gil McRae, the director of FWRI.”The cold-related deaths this past winter emphasize the importance of warm-water habitat to Florida’s manatees. Maximizing access for manatees to natural warm-water sites will continue to be a focus for the FWC and our partners moving forward.”

While there hasn’t been any forthcoming suggestions, there will be more research done into the matter and a solution proposed, hopefully sooner rather than later.