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State: Cold Snap Killed 35 Manatees Statewide In January

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Consistently cold waters were responsible for the largest portion of Florida manatee deaths in January.

A Bradenton Herald report said 35 manatees across Florida died as a result cold stress syndrome from Jan. 1 to Jan. 26, according to a preliminary report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This was five times as many deaths compared to the same time in 2017. But it doesn't come close to the 151 manatees that died during a cold snap in January 2010.

Cold stress syndrome can occur when the marine mammals encounter water below 68 degrees Fahrenheit for a prolonged period. Manatees experience hypothermia, their organs start to shut down and their skin begins to slough off.

Wildlife officials said another 10 manatees died statewide last month because of boat collisions.