Manatee Awareness Month
In 1979, former Florida Governor and Save the Manatee Club (SMC) co-founder Bob Graham proposed November to be Manatee Awareness Month. The state of Florida officially recognized November as a month to save the manatees in 2005.
Manatees were placed on the endangered species list in 1967 and were upgraded to the threatened status in 2017 due to conservation efforts like Manatee Awareness Month. However, due to a recent increase in manatee mortality, there has been a push to get the marine mammals back onto the endangered species list.
SMC believes that November is the perfect month to celebrate these creatures because they begin their annual return to the warm waters of Florida’s springs this time of year.
Why save manatees?
In any ecosystem, organisms rely on one another to stay healthy. When one disappears, there may be cascading effects. Manatees are no exception. Manatees play an important role in keeping aquatic ecosystems healthy. By eating seagrass, manatees keep the blades shorter, which is better for the seagrass beds and organisms that live in them.
Manatees are also important for tourism in Florida, with thousands of people visiting the state’s various springs just to see these gentle giants.
The Florida manatee’s biggest threats are human-caused, with boat strikes and poor water quality causing most manatee deaths in recent years. By celebrating Manatee Awareness Month, you can help mitigate these threats!
On the water
When boating, obey all speed zone signs and keep an eye out for manatees.
Additionally, boaters, paddlers, and waterfront property owners are encouraged to promote manatee safety. Anyone can request free materials from the SMC.
Participate in beach, shoreline, and waterway cleanups to keep manatee habitats clean and healthy.
Report manatee sightings
If you see a manatee that may be sick, injured, entangled, orphaned, or exhibiting any abnormal behavior, report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Text “FWC” to 84711
Educate others about Manatee Awareness Month and encourage them to get involved.
Information from Save the Manatees Club, NOAA, USGS, FWC, the Dolphin Research Center, WUSF, and the Marine Mammal Commission. .