Manatees in Florida had a terrible 2019, as data shows that a new record of 129 were killed by the end of December 13, 2019.
All the manatees fell victim to boaters and the year saw an increase on the record year of 2018 when boaters were responsible for the deaths of 125.
Sadly, the 129 figure is only the number of manatees killed by boaters. In fact a total of 545 manatees were lost in Florida in 2019, of which the largest number — 230 — died by natural causes.
The excellent news for manatees, though, is that their numbers are up overall in Florida’s waters, with 5,733 creatures recorded in the waters off the coast last year. This number represents a doubling of the number of animals in the last 20 years, so much so that they have been reclassified from “endangered” to “threatened.”
It is unclear why so many manatees perish at the hand of boaters. However, one thing to consider is that Florida is quite heavily populated and does not require users to have a license to operate a wide range of watercraft.
Check out a video of the Florida manatees below.