How many manatees are left in 2019?

Posted on · Posted in Blog
Posted by
The West Indian manatee is a large marine mammal often referred to as the “sea cow” due to its slow-moving nature and eating habit of consuming hundreds of pounds of sea grass a day. Their friendly and gentle nature also makes them favorites with local residents and tourists alike. Once listed as an endangered species, manatees are currently on the road to recovery and growth.

Manatees can be found throughout the Caribbean, around Florida, and in areas along the South American coast. Despite their large distance range, manatee populations have suffered from population decreases. Their numbers declined due to heavy hunting in the Caribbean in the early 20th century, as well as habitat and food source losses through land development. The number one threat is boat strikes because manatees are slow-moving and float close to the surface along the coast, making them vulnerable to serious injury or death from accidents.

Manatees were first put on the endangered species list in the 1970s. At that time it was estimated there were only a few hundred manatees left in the wild. Through conservation practices spanning four decades, their numbers have risen steadily. In March of 2017, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior reclassified the West Indian manatee from an “endangered” to a “threatened” species due to population revival.

As of 2019, it is estimated that there are at least 13,000 manatees in the wild. About 6,500 of these manatees are located around U.S. waters in Florida and Puerto Rico. Many of the population counts are gathered from aerial surveys. When these surveys began in 1991, there were an estimated 1,267 manatees left in this region. In 2019, the population around Florida has risen to about 6,300, showing a good increase, but still lower than it should be.

Although the status of manatees was upgraded from endangered to threatened, this does not mean the journey to safe population size is over. Conservation efforts are as important as ever. The manatee population responds to intervention and will benefit from ongoing efforts to monitor their number and conserve their habitats.

Keeping these beloved marine animals alive and thriving should be a priority. Just ask anyone who has experienced one of them up-close at Captain Mike’s Swimming with the Manatees in Crystal River, Florida. For more information on manatees and manatee tours, visit the Captain Mike’s Swimming With The Manatees website.

Swimming with the Manatees boasts the best water adventure in Crystal River, Florida with lots of things to do for you and your family. For more information, contact us online, or call us at (352) 571-1888.

You might also like to read about