Warmer weather means more manatee sightings |
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama – The 4th of July weekend means that many local residents and visitors will be taking to the water. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Manatee Watch Network (DISL / MSN) is asking boaters to watch for manatees and report sightings to help local researchers.
Founded in 2007, DISL / MSN is the first official manatee viewing network in the United States dedicated to research, education and awareness of manatees in the region. Part of DISL / MSN’s research focuses on defining where and when manatees reside in Alabama, Mississippi, and surrounding waters.
DISL / MSN relies heavily on citizen science to learn more about manatees through publicly reported sightings.
What you can do to help find DISL / MSN and help protect manatees in the northern Gulf:
Report any sightings of manatees 24/7, by phone (1-866-493-5803), email ([email protected]), or through an online sighting form (manatee. disl.org).
Go slowly as you navigate the manatee habitat, which typically includes areas of shallow water and abundant aquatic vegetation.
Collisions with boats are one of the main causes of manatee deaths.
Wear polarized sunglasses to make it easier to see the manatee.
Look for snouts on the surface of the water or for “footprints” left by manatees traveling underwater.
Safely dispose of fishing lines and other debris that may entangle manatees.
Give manatees space and never swim with, chase, touch, feed or give manatees water.
Manatees are protected by the federal government and any activity that alters their natural behavior is illegal and potentially harmful.