TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — As Florida experiences unusually cold temperatures and even snow in some parts, wildlife officials are keeping a close eye on vulnerable manatees and sea turtles.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says they’ve already rescued nearly 100 turtles so far. When temperatures drop, stunned sea turtles may float listlessly in the water on or near shore. They may appear dead but are often still alive.
Manatees head for warmer waters, such as discharge canals, power plants and natural springs, when the temperatures plunge. Wildlife officials are asking boaters to be extra vigilant and to avoid areas where large numbers of manatees have gathered. Sustaining adequate winter habitat for manatees has been a statewide conservation goal.
Wildlife officials want residents to report distressed animals to their alert hotline at 888-404-3922.