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Boaters asked to watch out for manatees

Dec. 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Officials in a Florida county are asking boaters to watch out for manatees while navigating waterways during the winter.

Broward County officials said the Natural Resources Planning and Management Division discovered cold conditions brought a record 477 manatees to the county's waterways during the first week of December, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

Officials said the number has since decreased, but is likely to climb again due to the current cold front.

"The current cold front should cause the number to jump back up well into the hundreds," said Pat Quinn, a Marine Resources officer with Broward County NRPMD.

Officials are asking boaters to be on the lookout for the endangered marine mammals by wearing polarized sunglasses and watching for large circular slicks on the surface of the water known as manatee "footprints."

The officials said the manatees will likely be traveling south in the Intracoastal Waterway to find warmer waters.

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