In a year when a third of manatee fatalities in Florida were not investigated because COVID-19 restrictions limited necropsies and boat strikes once again topped deaths caused by humans, one indicator stood out: manatees killed by floodgates and locks.
Of a total of 619 deaths in Florida’s waterways last year, 10 manatees were crushed or drowned in flood control structures, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s preliminary mortality report. It may seem like a small number compared with the 90 animals that died after being hit by boats. But it’s twice the number of manatees killed by flood gates last year, and more than double the average of four deaths over the past five years. MORE