How Can I Help?
You can help protect manatees in many ways.
If there is a wildlife emergency, please use the following information:
Report injured, orphaned, entangled, distressed or dead manatees to the FWC. Call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.
Early reporting sets the rescue team in motion so that the animal(s) can be saved.
Other ways to help include individual, family or community activities that enhance manatee habitat, safety or support:
1. Show your support for manatees on your vehicles or vessels
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.
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida offers another way to support.
2. Be Active in Your Community
- Help keep manatee habitat clean- One of the best ways to help manatees and other wildlife survive is to participate with shoreline, beach, park or roadside cleanup events in your area. If you are enjoying a day in the outdoors you are encouraged to pick up litter or discarded fishing line and dispose of it properly.
- Volunteer your time to educate others and help manatees – Share this link with paddlers you know to encourage wildlife friendly observation in Florida.
- Check with local environmental organizations to see if you can volunteer or conduct a community service project that would benefit manatee conservation.
- Recycle your monofilament fishing line in designated bins near docks, ramps or in tackle shops. Get your civic group to adopt or monitor a recycling bin in your area.
3. Be aware and be prepared on the waterways
- Obey ALL posted waterway signs – Use FWC manatee and boating safety zones maps to plan your trips.
- Look out for but do not touch or remove GPS/telemetry tag units on manatees. These animals are monitored for research purposes or for health reasons with activities conducted under a federal research permit. The tags do not cause harm and are made to breakaway if they become entangled.
- Use propeller (prop) guards appropriately if you have a guard on your vessel - Reduce your speed while using a prop guard to give manatees time to get out of your way. A slower speed also reduces the chance that the guard will harm a manatee if it is struck by the guard. (Note: Search the Internet to see the variety of prop guard designs available. The image above is an example of what a prop guard may look like—image compliments of Edward Ball Wakulla Spring State Park, Florida Park Service)
- Avoid traveling in seagrass or other shallow areas where manatees may be feeding or resting. Look out for manatees and give them space.
4. Volunteer Information:
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Internship and volunteer opportunities are available.