The yearly manatee count revealed a record number of manatees this year. The survey counted 3807 manatees which is about 500 more than the previous record from 2001.

manatees Record number of manatees sighted in Florida
Manatee with calf

Experts do however say that it is too early to cheer and that one shouldn’t read too much into this as this year offered ideal conditions for spotting manatees. Cold temperatures made the manatees gather in warm clear waters around nuclear power plants and natural springs making them easy to spot. The previous record year 2001 – when about 1000 more manatees were counted than the year before and the year after – also offered similar conditions. It is important to remember that the count doesn’t reflect the actual number of manatees but rather a minimum number of manatees as not all of them can be found and counted.

Wildlife managers and manatee advocates do however call the number encouraging and say that it might indicate that the manatee population is slowly recovering as the number is higher then the numbers the previous record year. They say that the count supports population models suggesting manatees are increasing in Northwest Florida, along the Atlantic Coast and on the upper St. Johns River. Pat Rose, executive director of the “Save The Manatee Club” does however add that the numbers in Southwest Florida and the Everglades, home to about 40 percent of all manatees in Florida, are believed to be in continuing decline. Data on this region is however much more scare as it is hard to keep track on the animals in the dark waters found in this area.

Considering that scientists earlier estimated the manatee population in all of Florida to be below 1500 animals it can only be concluded that the conservation process have been a success and with 3807 animals it seems clear that the situation is much better than it once were, even if there still is much work to do to protect these gentle giants.