Record Manatee Count for 2009, Go Cows!

Manatee lovers everywhere should be rejoicing! The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission just released their 2009 survey report for the population of West Indian manatees living in state of Florida waters. Surveys are conducted via aerial observation at known congregation spots during winter time cool snaps in the state that drive manatees into warmer waters.

Unbelievably, although we had a bad year for manatee calves in 2008, the preliminary survey counted 3,807 manatees!!

If you’ve been paying attention to WaterNotes for the past two years, you’re aware that the 2007 survey counted 2,817. A thousand animal surplus between surveys may seem extreme, but sampling error is one of those crazy things in population biology. The surveys are not hard and fast population estimates either and are used to assist with modeling the overall population instead of serving as exact numbers for Florida manatees. The 3,807 count breaks down to 2,153 on the East Coast and 1,654 on the West.