Beach Crowd Harasses Mating Manatees

In a recent incident in Broward County, a mating herd of endangered manatees was disturbed by a crowd of about 100 beachgoers who surrounded the animals when they got close to shore. Many people touched the manatees and some tried to ride them. Though it is a frequent temptation for people to want to touch manatees or interact with them in some way, the best way to protect manatees and all wildlife is to observe them from a distance.

Manatees are an endangered species and are protected under the federal Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection Acts and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. Interactions that could be harmful to manatees include approaching them, touching them, riding them, chasing them, surrounding them, feeding manatees or giving them water, or separating a mother and calf. All of these forms of interactions may be considered harassment and could be considered a violation of federal and state law.

The best policy for manatees and other wildlife is to “look, but don’t touch.” Wild animals need to stay wild in order to survive.

Manatee Protection Tips for Divers and Swimmers

Read MSNBC news article on the incident

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