Florida Manatee Program

Manatees

FWC Manatee Management Plan Adobe PDF

FWC's Manatee Program

The Florida manatee is a native species found in many of Florida’s waterways. First listed as a federal endangered species in 1966, the Florida manatee population has grown to over 6,000 animals today.

In 1975, Florida’s school children helped designate the endangered Florida manatee as Florida’ state marine mammal. Since then, various research, management and educational efforts have occurred to bring back a species that many people thought was on the verge of extinction.

Continued support from thousands of people willing to purchase Save the Manatee specialty license plates or donate funds to the manatee program has allowed the state to develop and administer what was, and is needed for management and research programs that protect and conserve Florida’s manatees for future generations to see and enjoy.

Today, manatees are considered one of Florida’s keystone species whose behavior can alert researchers to the environmental and habitat changes that may otherwise go unnoticed in Florida’s waterways for extended periods of time. Please browse the manatee program web pages to find out more about this unique imperiled species. 

FWC Manatee Management, Research, and Law Enforcement

Manatee-release2013

Florida manatees were first protected through Florida State Law in 1893. Manatees are protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act (§379.2431(2), Florida Statutes) and are federally protected by both the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.

(Law enforcement and research staff work together to release rehabilitated manatees.)

 

 

FWC continues to protect and conserve manatees and their habitat through programs operated in the:

 

manatee_waving.jpg Where Can I See Manatees?

During the winter months, manatees head for warm waters, such as springs and energy center discharge canals. For the remainder of the year, manatees are widely dispersed in Florida’s waterways and along the coast.  The following is a list of some of the places where you can see the endangered Florida manatee in captivity or in the wild.


Report a distressed or dead manatee

Wildlife Alert: 888-404-3922
State mobile: #FWC or *FWC
Text to: Tip@MyFWC.com  

Headlines

Donate $5 to get your manatee decal at Florida Tax Collector offices
2016-2017 Decal: Tracking Manatees

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Links

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Logo

        Links

USGS Logo

USFWS
North Florida
Field Office

Manatee Related Links Sirenia Project


FWC Facts:
The FWC issues more than 200 licenses, permits and certifications covering a wide range of activities impacting fish, wildlife and boater safety.

Learn More at AskFWC