Georgia Manatee Health Assessments

Georgia Manatee Health Assessments

Many manatees make their home in the coastal waters of Georgia and Florida. Georgia Aquarium has partnered with Sea to Shore Alliance and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources on a project to map the movements of this protected species around Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, near St. Marys, Georgia. The study is documenting migratory paths and habitat use in the region and collecting baseline data to help assess manatee health. Researchers are confirming things they long suspected: the importance of the Intracoastal Waterway, or ICW – a narrow passage of natural and dredged rivers between the mainland and barrier islands – for manatees moving along the Georgia coast. The Intracoastal Waterway is a major thoroughfare for manatees migrating between Georgia and Florida, but the ICW is also a popular waterway for boats path used to travel up and down the coast. Since 2000, boat collisions have caused 27 percent of manatee mortalities documented in Georgia. Understanding manatees’ habitat use and migration details can benefit conservation efforts for the species. The health assessment studies are patterned after the Aquarium’s long-standing bottlenose dolphin Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) research in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. To learn more about Georgia Aquarium’s manatee health assessment program, please visit:

http://news.georgiaaquarium.org/stories/georgia-health-assessment-project-adds-manatees-gains-insight

GA manatee with tag