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Cold Has Hit Manatee Population Last Two Years
Tampa Tribune ^ | Jan. 8, 2012 | Keith Morelli

Posted on 01/08/2012 3:17:46 PM PST by Iron Munro

Sometimes there is nothing you can do to protect one of nature's gentlest creatures from the cruelties of Mother Nature.

At one time, the main danger to sea cows bobbing in Florida's waters was inattentive speed boaters who plowed through manatee-rich areas, bows crunching shoulders, propellers gouging backs.

That could be dealt with, if not eliminated. Strict laws were enacted, manatee sanctuaries have been established and educational programs are available to teach boaters about when and where manatees gather along Florida's coastline. Fatal vessel encounters dipped.

Over the past few years, though, boating-related deaths of Florida's officially adopted marine mammal have been eclipsed by the cold.

The number of manatees dying of cold is a troubling trend for state wildlife officials, who say that for the third year in a row, frigid waters have has claimed a higher-than-usual number of manatees.

"Basically, we've had a run of very cold winters," said Carol Knox, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "It's one of those cyclic things that just occur, just one of those things that happens."

Of the 453 manatee deaths recorded in 2011, 112 were attributed to the cold, according to figures recently released by the commission. The year before was even worse; 282 of 766 deaths were cold-related.

That was the year when much of the state shivered under 11 straight days of subfreezing temperatures. The cold snap took its toll on flora and fauna and even resulted in fish kills around the Tampa Bay area.

There's not much that humans can do to keep manatees warm, Knox said, except to make sure the access routes to warm spring-fed rivers and estuaries are clear of obstruction and that the flow of spring water remains stable.

Sometimes, Knox said, survival is left to the vagaries of nature.

Typically, the state gets its first taste of cold winter weather in November and December, and manatees take note.

"They key off air temperatures and water temperatures," Knox said. "When the first cold front comes through, one that is significant enough to get the temperatures down, that gets them on the move. They are moving toward warmer water."

If there are no early cold snaps, manatees may still be in open water and unprotected when sudden freezing temperatures hit, she said.

"It all depends on how the cold weather stacks up and how it emerges each winter," she said. "If manatees are already in their warm-water sites, they are fine. Groups that are in warm-water sites sustain very few cold-stressed deaths."

The population of Florida's manatees has blossomed over the past 30 years. At the end of January 2011, officials counted nearly 5,000 manatees in the waters around the state.

"We're hopeful that we have enough animals out there to make the population more resilient to these threats," Knox said.

The 282 cold-related manatee deaths in 2010 was a record and biologists coined a new term: cold-shock death. That's when manatees in warm water are forced to go out to forage for food during extended cold spells.

They hit the cold, open water and the sudden change in temperature actually shocks them to death. It was a relatively new phenomenon, biologists say.

In 2009, the commission recorded 56 manatees dying from the cold, out of a total 429. In the previous five years, cold stress accounted for an average of 30 manatee deaths a year, wildlife officers said, and over the past two years, an average of 86 manatees died in boating collisions.

The total number of reported manatee deaths in 2011 was the second-highest on record, after 2010. The number of deaths in 2009 was the third-highest.

"We are concerned about the number of manatee deaths the past three years, including those resulting from exposure to cold weather," Gil McRae, director of the commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, said in a news release.

"Over the next few years, we will use data from monitoring programs to better understand any long-term implications for the population," he said. "We will continue to work with our partners to enhance the availability of natural warm-water sites, which are important habitats for the species' survival."

Save the Manatee Club Director of Science and Conservation Katie Tripp said that manatees already in warm-water areas when freezes hit fare far better than those caught off guard by a sudden cold snap.

She said the three-year trend is troubling. Enough manatee deaths on any given year, she said, "and you have the potential for a population level impact."

She said it is important to maintain warm-water coastal springs, the flow of which tends to diminish with nearby groundwater pumping for human consumption.

"When there is more groundwater withdrawal," she said, "there is less water in the springs that the manatees depend on. And that puts them more at risk."


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: animals; globalwarming; marinebiology; wildlife
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Al Gore and his "Climate-Changers" are killing our Manatees!


1 posted on 01/08/2012 3:17:53 PM PST by Iron Munro
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To: Iron Munro

Barbara!


2 posted on 01/08/2012 3:21:32 PM PST by steveo
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To: steveo

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...


3 posted on 01/08/2012 3:24:46 PM PST by jessduntno ("'How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think." - Adolph Hitler)
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To: Iron Munro

4 posted on 01/08/2012 3:26:40 PM PST by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: Iron Munro
What's keeping these things from moving where the food or warmer temperatures are?

Peanut-brain?

5 posted on 01/08/2012 3:30:47 PM PST by elkfersupper ( Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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To: Iron Munro

What does a manatee burger taste like?


6 posted on 01/08/2012 3:31:39 PM PST by al baby (Hi Mom)
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To: steveo

Seeing the manatees at Blue Spring state park was a highlight of our trip to Florida. The manatees seem so gentle and slow-moving and harmless. Hate to hear they are struggling.


7 posted on 01/08/2012 3:32:33 PM PST by Cloverfarm (This too shall pass ...)
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To: steveo

8 posted on 01/08/2012 3:33:16 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: steveo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpD8cktegwY&feature=player_embedded


9 posted on 01/08/2012 3:37:22 PM PST by Rocky (REPEAL IT!)
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To: Iron Munro

Stupid manatees. Don’t you realize the earth is heating, not cooling? Quit drinking the Faux News Kool-Aid, manatees!


10 posted on 01/08/2012 3:47:56 PM PST by risen_feenix
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To: Iron Munro

Manatee - the other white meat


11 posted on 01/08/2012 3:52:13 PM PST by WorkerbeeCitizen (I STAND WITH ISRAEL)
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To: Iron Munro
access routes to warm spring-fed rivers

Lost me right there. I've bathed in springs. I've never found a warm one. Sure, there may one in Arkansas, and a few in Greenland and the ones out in Kamchatka.... But most springs are **** shriveling, heart-attack inducing, painfully cold.

Try again, Mr. Government man.

/johnny

12 posted on 01/08/2012 3:54:24 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: GladesGuru

Ping


13 posted on 01/08/2012 3:58:06 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The RNC would prefer Obama to a conservative nominee.)
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To: Iron Munro
There's not much that humans can do to keep manatees warm

I'll try to do my part by driving my SUV to the supermarket.

14 posted on 01/08/2012 4:02:14 PM PST by denydenydeny (The more a system is all about equality in theory the more it's an aristocracy in practice.)
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To: Iron Munro

Does grilled manatee taste good?


15 posted on 01/08/2012 4:03:54 PM PST by cornfedcowboy (Trust in God, but empty the clip.)
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To: Iron Munro

Curse you, Man-Bear-Pig and your global warming fiends!


16 posted on 01/08/2012 4:04:28 PM PST by Eleutheria5 (Diplomacy is war by other means.)
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To: Iron Munro

Here’s a solution. Put up a few nuclear power plants and dump the warm water from the cooling towers near manatee habitat.


17 posted on 01/08/2012 4:11:01 PM PST by randita
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To: leapfrog0202



PLEASE DONATE

18 posted on 01/08/2012 4:11:35 PM PST by leapfrog0202 ("the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery" Sarah Palin)
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To: cornfedcowboy

http://www.monkeyspit.net/sites/manatee/recipes.html

Manatee Balls
1 lb chopped manatee meat
1 egg
1 Tbsp finely chopped onions
2 Tbsps. finely chopped celery
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsps finely chopped shallots
2 Tbsps lemon pepper
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup cooking oil Flour to dredge

Combine all ingredients, form into 1-inch balls. Allow to set for one hour. Dredge with flour and fry until brown. Serve hot.


19 posted on 01/08/2012 4:13:30 PM PST by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: abb

Rofl!!!

You just know the huge manatee stories will be appropriately covered.

Your manatee is Out and Proud.


20 posted on 01/08/2012 4:14:17 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: Iron Munro

She said it is important to maintain warm-water coastal springs, the flow of which tends to diminish with nearby groundwater pumping for human consumption.


Who is supposed to maintain the temp of the coastal springs?

Maybe we have found the Ideal Normal Temperature of the Planet. Manatee Temp.


21 posted on 01/08/2012 4:17:10 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: randita
There's a coal-fired power plant (Big Bend Power Station) on Tampa Bay. The manatees love it there.
22 posted on 01/08/2012 4:23:17 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> - - -)
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To: Cloverfarm; GladesGuru
Seeing the manatees at Blue Spring state park was a highlight of our trip to Florida. The manatees seem so gentle and slow-moving and harmless. Hate to hear they are struggling.

Spoken like a true tourist. Here's hoping that every single Manatee in the state freezes into a solid block of ice and floats back into the Caribbean - where they invaded us from.

Some of us who live in Florida have watched these things (a non-native exotic species) used as an excuse to destroy people's property rights and kill segments of many industries like boating, fishing, tourism etc.

23 posted on 01/08/2012 4:34:27 PM PST by AAABEST (Et lux in tenebris lucet: et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt)
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To: al baby

Not bad, a little fattier than Condor and Bald Eagle.


24 posted on 01/08/2012 4:44:59 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: smokingfrog

About 3 miles from my house. Perhaps I should drive over and throw them an electric blanket.


25 posted on 01/08/2012 4:47:53 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Iron Munro
The last couple of years have played havoc on my citrus trees though the plums and peaches love it. I very much miss my Persian limes, kumquats and Sicilian lemons. The banana trees haven't produced at all.

More power plants would help people and animals alike ... manatees love the warm water outflow, manatees also like to eat nasty stuff like water hyacinth, tourist love manatees, and econuts couldn't logically object, not that logic is important to them anyway. Of course, the outflow areas could be designed so as to maximize the area of quality aquatic vegetation so the animals could have enough grazing for sustained cold snaps; this in turn would help water birds and fish and bring in more tourists for birdwatching and fishing, which will help local small businesses and even tax hungry politicians. The positive PR helps the power industry and makes liberals stutter when they try to stop coal and nuclear power. Win, win.

26 posted on 01/08/2012 5:04:23 PM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)
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To: JRandomFreeper
The average temperature of a Florida spring is 72 degrees year round.

Probably feels pretty warm when the ocean temp. is closer to 60°.

27 posted on 01/08/2012 5:05:12 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> - - -)
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To: driftdiver
Perhaps I should drive over and throw them an electric blanket.

I LOLed so loud that the catz freaked out and ran from the room.

Reminds me of when my (recently divorced) first ex-wife called me and said the power pole was on fire, what should she DO????

I told her to put a water hose on it, and call 911.

She hung up on me. She didn't use the water hose, she did call 911, and I paid for 15 more years.

/johnny

28 posted on 01/08/2012 5:13:23 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Iron Munro

This is Hugh.


29 posted on 01/08/2012 5:15:38 PM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (ROMNEY / ALINSKY 2012 (sarcasm))
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To: smokingfrog
YOU bathe in it.

I'll take 105F. Nukes sound like a good solution.

One of the few benefits coming from moving back into society is the running water and the hot water. Coffee, I could get in the wilderness. Flour, salt, ammo.. all of that was available. I could even get.... well. I had already done the celibate thing by then.

But hot running water? Hoo-yah. That's some fine living.

/johnny

30 posted on 01/08/2012 5:20:41 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: smokingfrog

Having gone diving in 72 degree water it does not feel warm. Especially when the air temp is less than 85.

Its kinda cool to see deer tracks in the rock about 90 feet below the grounds surface.


31 posted on 01/08/2012 5:36:30 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Iron Munro

Fewer but tougher Manatees.


32 posted on 01/08/2012 6:09:55 PM PST by dog breath
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To: driftdiver; JRandomFreeper

I’ve done some diving in FL springs, but not without a full wetsuit.

I meant that 72 degrees would probably feel warm to a manatee on a winters day ...

Found some fossils one time in a spring that sort of looked like teeth, but have no idea what kind of critter they might have come from. Any idea?


33 posted on 01/08/2012 6:30:34 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> - - -)
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To: smokingfrog
Found some fossils one time in a spring that sort of looked like teeth, but have no idea what kind of critter they might have come from. Any idea?

There are a lot of fossilized horse teeth. Those, broken manatee ribs and vertebrae, shark and ray teeth seem to be the most common.

Did it look like this:


34 posted on 01/08/2012 6:37:44 PM PST by aruanan
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To: smokingfrog
I live near a slight lift in the landscape, and I'm just a cook, but I take fossils that I find to the local university/museum. They got smart guys there.

Got pix?

/johnny

35 posted on 01/08/2012 6:39:13 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: smokingfrog
Found some fossils one time in a spring that sort of looked like teeth, but have no idea what kind of critter they might have come from. Any idea?

Here's a really good photo:


36 posted on 01/08/2012 6:40:14 PM PST by aruanan
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To: smokingfrog
Found some fossils one time in a spring that sort of looked like teeth, but have no idea what kind of critter they might have come from. Any idea?

Here are some tapir teeth:


37 posted on 01/08/2012 6:43:00 PM PST by aruanan
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To: aruanan
Nature's way of saying: "Don't touch".

You might kill it, but don't try to negotiate with it.

/johnny

38 posted on 01/08/2012 6:43:16 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Iron Munro
cold has hit manatee population

What does a manatee take for a cold, I wonder?

39 posted on 01/08/2012 6:46:29 PM PST by GSWarrior (Businessmen are more trustworthy than politicians, professors and preachers.)
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To: JRandomFreeper

I’m pretty happy that things like the Megalodon got wiped out by something or other.


40 posted on 01/08/2012 6:47:02 PM PST by aruanan
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To: GSWarrior
What does a manatee take for a cold, I wonder?

Water bath, from what I'm understanding. ;)

/johnny

41 posted on 01/08/2012 6:49:41 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: aruanan; JRandomFreeper

I know what shark teeth look like. These were more like big molars. Could have been from any number of large mammals, I would imagine.


42 posted on 01/08/2012 6:50:30 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> - - -)
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To: aruanan

Kind of like that (from what I remember).


43 posted on 01/08/2012 6:54:54 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> - - -)
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To: aruanan
I’m pretty happy that things like the Megalodon got wiped out by something or other.

Shark fin soup for everyone!

Got your back, bro. I have recipes for almost anything. And I can adapt them if required.

Neighbor asked why I kept a loaded rifle in the corner (when I've got loaded shotguns and pistols easy to hand). I told him that I never know when a rhino might start tearing up my front lawn.

And I've got recipes for rhino, too. ;)

/johnny

44 posted on 01/08/2012 6:55:39 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: smokingfrog

I did most of mine with a shorty on. It worked ok in the summer time when I could warm up between dives. Not so much when it was 60 degrees outside.


45 posted on 01/08/2012 6:56:46 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Iron Munro

They need to evolve.


46 posted on 01/08/2012 6:58:47 PM PST by Chickensoup (In the 20th century 200 million people were killed by their own governments.)
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To: aruanan

These are the teeth of the largest predatory shark that ever lived....kindred to the extant great white shark.....genus Megalodon. It was 10 times the size of todays largest great white shark.


47 posted on 01/08/2012 7:00:40 PM PST by Texas Songwriter (Ia)
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To: aruanan

I go sharks tooth diving off the beach, trying to find some of those. Have several hundred much smaller ones. Found parts of a whale bone but nothing big.


48 posted on 01/08/2012 7:04:10 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Or a colonic anemone.


49 posted on 01/08/2012 7:05:41 PM PST by GSWarrior (Businessmen are more trustworthy than politicians, professors and preachers.)
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To: GSWarrior
LOL! Gonna put WHAT? WHERE?

BTW, anemone is one of the few things I don't have a recipe for.

/johnny

50 posted on 01/08/2012 7:10:28 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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