Advises Boaters on Lake Pontchartrain and Connecting Waterways
to Remain Alert for Manatees in Area
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising fishermen
and boaters on Lake Pontchartrain and connecting waterways
to exercise caution if individual or groups of manatees are
with the Audubon Nature Institute, working in tandem with
LDWF, have confirmed sightings of manatees in Lake Pontchartrain.
Follow up aerial surveys indicate that the manatees appear
to have dispersed throughout the Lake Pontchartrain basin.
The manatee is
a slow moving mammal that can grow to over 10 feet in length
and weigh over 1,000 pounds. They eat seagrass, water hyacinth
warm water and are found mainly in Florida's inland waters
and coastal zones. As a federally-protected endangered species,
manatees should not be handled, fed or watered.
Because of their
grayish-brown color, manatees are difficult to see in the
water and thus subject to injury from boat collisions. Area
boaters are urged to remain observant for the species through
early October when they will migrate back to Gulf waters.
Boaters should not approach manatees and make every effort
to navigate around the creatures to avoid contact.
interested in collecting data on the numbers and movement
of manatees while they inhabit the state's inland waterways.
The public is urged to assist in this effort by reporting
any manatee sighting — including live, injured or dead
manatees — to 1-800-442-2511 or 504-378-2580.