Survey brings good news in bad year for manatee deaths

©BLM

For Florida’s manatees, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission believes the population is much higher than previously estimated. New counts suggest the state has about 7,500 to 10,300 manatees, the Associated Press reports, significantly higher than the previous estimates of 6,000, thanks to a recent survey and upgraded computer models. The bad news: wildlife officials have counted 779 manatee deaths this year, compared to 538 last year. Officials suspect red tide contributed to over 200 manatee deaths. Other mortalities are attributed to a winter cold snap and collisions with boats.

Read more of the Associated Press story here.