Holy Cow!!! (Sorry, But I Had To)

The annual synoptic aerial survey for manatees in state of Florida waters came in officially yesterday with a whopping all-time high count of the cows: 5,067!!

This  is a staggering (and exciting) jump in population numbers from last year’s all-time high by over 1,200 individuals. While the survey will not be finalized (and thus truly official) until the end of February it is a delightful note in our conservation circles here in Florida to know that so many ‘cows are circulating in the state.  FWCC biologists are already attributing the cold water conditions to the spectacular survey turnout.  (When the water is chilly manatee’s congregate and large groups of manatees are far easier to count than solitary holdouts that might be missed under mangrove limbs if they are out in their more usual saltwater pastures.)

I was lucky enough to spend time at Haulover Canal today, just north of the Titusville area and the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge system, watching two manatees pull up giant mouthfuls of manatee grass and talking to tourists visiting the area who had dozens of questions about the mammals.  I wish I had known at the time that the survey results had been so dramatically positive.. I would have practically ran around to anyone who would listen yelling the news!