Manatees migrate to warmer waters to escape cold temperatures

Manatees migrate to warmer waters to escape cold temperatures
Manatees have migrated to warmer waters in Central Florida to escape cold temperatures.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Manatees have migrated to warmer waters in Central Florida to escape cold temperatures.

In Brevard County, dozens of manatees have converged on one Satellite Beach canal off Desoto Parkway.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says conditions at the canal are similar to a spring which is why so many manatees were seen gathered there Wednesday.

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When water temperatures drop to 68 degrees or below, manatees can suffer from cold stress. In Brevard County this year, wildlife officials said they have only seen very minor cold stress on some animals, nothing that warranted intervention or rescue.

In Volusia County, nearly 450 manatees were seen huddled together at the Blue Springs State Park.

Warm spring waters are a sanctuary from cold weather that can kill manatees.

“Unfortunately, since the weather has been fluctuating so much, we already had some manatees that died of cold stress this season,” said Cora Berchem, a manatee research specialist.

FWC said that many manatees are dependent on man-made sources of warmth like the outflow of power plants.

In Brevard County, colder temperatures are driving manatees to warmer waters. Dozens of manatees have converged on one Satellite Beach canal off Desoto Parkway.