VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Visitors and researchers at Blue Spring State Park got an up-close look at a large manatee mating herd this weekend.
Save the Manatee Club researchers said they spotted more than 30 manatees, including 23 males. During the mating season, researchers said when a female manatee enters her fertile period, she’s soon detected and pursued by numerous males.
The female can then mate with one or more males in what is known as a mating herd.
Save the Manatee Club officials said onlookers may be curious about the commotion or concerned that the manatees in the herd are injured, stranded, or in distress. But, in fact, they said this is natural behavior and any disturbances to the mating herd may disrupt the behavior and jeopardize the reproductive cycle.
Save the Manatee Club officials offered the following tips if you encounter a manatee mating herd:
- Do not approach or touch any of the manatees.
- Watch only from a respectful distance.
- Know that interfering with the mating herd is considered manatee harassment, and is against the law.
- If you witness others touching or otherwise disturbing the mating herd, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or your local wildlife agency or stranding network.
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