Environment

Unprecedented manatee deaths this year

Florida's parks offer plenty to see, like the manatees in Blue Spring.
Florida's parks offer plenty to see, like the manatees in Blue Spring. MBR

While manatees appear to be weathering the current cold snaps well, so far, Florida wildlife officials report that frigid blasts earlier this year have contributed to an "unprecedented number" of manatee deaths.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will release the statistics on the manatee deaths so far this year at 10 a.m.

Shortly after, the FWC director, will discuss the details of the findings and the role the long cold weather earlier this year played in these deaths on a statewide media conference call.

These large, gray mammals sometimes called sea cows live throughout Florida's waterways. They grow to about 10 feet long and weigh up to 1,200 pounds. They have no natural enemies and research suggests they can live to 60 years and older.

Usually boats pose the biggest threat to a manatee's health. The Save the Manatee Club estimates about 3,800 manatees live in the United States.

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