"2009 A Deadly Year For Florida's Manatees"

"MIAMI -- A record number of endangered manatees died in Florida waters this year, according to the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In a preliminary report on Friday, the commission said its Fish and Wildlife Research Institute had documented 419 manatee deaths in state waters between January 1 and December 11, the most for any year since record-keeping began in 1974.

The previous worst year for the mammals was 2006, when 417 deaths were documented in Florida. A lower-than-average total of 337 deaths was reported in 2008.

Manatee death counts can swing wildly from year to year and the wildlife commission has cautioned in the past not to read too much into a single year's statistics."

Tom Brown reports for Reuters December 21, 2009.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009