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News: 2005

LDWF Advises Boaters on Lake Pontchartrain and Connecting Waterways to Remain Alert for Manatees in Area
Posted: 8/10/05

The Louisiana 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 encountered.

Marine biologists 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 and algae.

Manatees prefer 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.

LDWF is 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.

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