MANATEE WATCH: Volusia County seeks volunteers to spot sea cows

Training program to observe, document manatees

FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2010, file photo, a group of manatees are in a canal where discharge from a nearby Florida Power & Light plant warms the water in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Normally giving food to wild animals is considered off limits, but the dire situation in Florida with more than 1,000 manatees dying from starvation due to manmade pollution is leading officials to consider an unprecedented feeding plan. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Wildlife officials in Volusia County said Friday they are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to participate in upcoming Manatee Watch events in February.

The county’s Manatee Watch program serves to identify the presence of manatees in local waterways in order to observe and record their behavior, as well as to photograph and sketch scar patterns on the animals, according to a news release.

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Debbie Wright, Volusia County manatee protection program manager, said the information gathered during these excursions is vital to understanding manatee movement and habitat use.

“The Manatee Watch training is a great opportunity to learn all about Florida’s official marine mammal,” Wright said. “With the help of volunteers, we can get a better understanding of how manatees are using Volusia County waterways.”

The program is open to all individuals 16 or older, and all families, businesses and civic organizations are invited to take part as well, the release said. Participation is free and advance registration is required.

Click here to learn more. Find upcoming sessions hosted by Manatee Watch coordinators below:

  • 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Feb. 7 — Stetson Aquatic Center, 2636 Alhambra Ave., DeLand, FL 32720
  • 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Feb. 12 — Marine Discovery Center, 520 Barracuda Blvd., New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169

About the Author:

Brandon joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.