Tags: manatee | three sister springs | flash | mob

Manatees' Three Sister Springs 'Flash Mob' Chases Out Tourists

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 12:03 PM

A manatee "flash mob" filled the Three Sister Springs in Florida on Monday, forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to close down the tourist destination as more than 300 of the so-called sea cows unexpectedly moved to its interior.

The manatees swam into the spring at the Crystal River refuge as the tide started to rise around noon on Monday, according to WTSP-TV. Officials said that as long as the manatee count remained so high the spring would remain closed.

The Crystal River refuge website said officials considered reopening the spring on Tuesday morning but the manatee count remained high and decided it would remain closed until the afternoon.


 


Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge officials said on their Facebook page that they had seen the increase in manatee activity coming after biologist Joyce Kleen did an aerial survey and found a record number of manatees in the area.

Refuge officials said the survey – done at low tides, low temperatures and with "great air and water visibility" – revealed 797 manatees and easily shattered the previous record of 657 set in 2012.

"I expected a record number, but not 140 more than the previous record, and certainly not 242 manatees at the Blue Waters in Homosassa," Kleen said on Facebook. Refuge officials said the Blue Waters previous record was 185 manatees counted in December 2013.

The Florida manatee is a relative of the West Indian manatee, with elongated round bodies that taper to a flat, paddle-shaped tail, according to Crystal River Wildlife Refuge. Manatees are believed to have evolved from a wading, plant-eating animal known as the Pezosiren.

Florida manatees are protected from being hunted, captured or harassed in the United States by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

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A manatee "flash mob" filled the Three Sister Springs in Florida on Monday, forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to close down the tourist destination as more than 300 of the so-called sea cows unexpectedly moved to its interior.
manatee, three sister springs, flash, mob
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2015-03-04
Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 12:03 PM
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