(WSVN) - Hundreds of visitors are heading for South Florida this winter and one Florida county wants you to help keep track of them. 7’s Brandon Beyer shows you how your phone can help Broward County “see” those creatures.
Every year, they come to Broward County.
Samantha Jarvis, Natural Resource Specialist: “So far, we have counted 11 that we have seen aerially, but we know that they will be coming down as the months get colder.”
Each week during manatee season, Broward County crews will fly over area waterways to count all the manatees they see.
And as more of these marine mammals arrive, boaters need to be on the lookout too.
Samantha Jarvis: “Be aware of your surroundings. The signs for the speed zones are large, they are white and bright colored, you can’t miss them.”
Boaters aren’t the only ones who can help keep the manatee population safe. Technology is making it easy for everyone to chip in.
Samantha Jarvis: “So them helping report numbers helps us stay positive.”
Check out the I Spy A Manatee app. Users can report sightings of manatees and report on their condition.
Samantha Jarvis: “Whether the manatee is grazing on seagrass beds, we know that there’s seagrass, that’s healthy or they see one that’s injured or dead.”
Users can even send in pictures of what they see.
Samantha Jarvis: “If you see a baby manatee, we want to know that.”
All the information goes to Florida Fish and Wildlife, which updates the number of manatees each season. The state wants to know whether the population is growing, or getting smaller.
Samantha Jarvis: “It’s great for our future generations, also, and keeping this iconic creature in Florida for hopefully forever.”
The app is free and available for both Android and Apple devices. It’s an easy way for everyone to take part in protecting these gentle giants.
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