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Near record number of manatee deaths in Florida in 2018, FWC says

27 manatee deaths were reported in Northeast Florida waterways

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Manatee deaths went up in 2018, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The state reported a near record number of manatee deaths, with 804 dying in Florida waters – just shy of the 830 recorded in 2013. 

The FWC said there were 27 reported manatee deaths in Northeast Florida in 2018. Officials said 14 of those deaths were from cold stress, three were from boat strikes and the rest were from other factors.

"It’s just really sad, the loss of life," Jacksonville resident Daniel Entenza said.

Along the Riverwalk in downtown Jacksonville there are signs on docks and bridges in the St. Johns River warning boaters to watch for manatees in certain zones.

"I don’t think signage helps cause it's not flashy enough. I mean, a little sign on a pole isn’t going to catch your attention when you’re going 50 mph over the speed limit on the river," Entenza said.

Jacksonville residents are not happy about hearing of how many manatee deaths were recorded in Florida waterways. 

"(There are) lots of debris and things being dumped out there (in the river)  that shouldn’t be, that can be detrimental to the manatee population," Daynetha Singleton said.

According to FWC,  there were 10 reported manatee deaths in Duval County – five from cold stress, four undetermined and one perinatal. 

There were eight reported deaths in St. Johns County -  four from cold stress, two from boat strikes, one natural and one perinatal. 

Clay County reported two manatee deaths, both due to cold stress. 

Putnam County reported five deaths. Three of the deaths were due to cold stress and two perinatal.

And two manatee deaths were reported in Flagler County – one involved a boat, the other was perinatal.

Scientists say red algae killed 91 manatees in Florida waters.

It’s believed there are 7,500 to 10,300 manatees that live in state waterways.

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