The cold feeling brings sea cows to Manatee Park



Visitors to Manatee Park in Lee County were treated to a special treat on Wednesday when dozens of manatees appeared to enjoy the area’s warmer waters.

The park is a warm water refuge for sea cows during cold spells. The water is warmer because there is a water plant nearby.

The researchers also took advantage of visits by mammals to collect data. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Service and Mote Marine Laboratory staff were present to conduct genetic sampling by taking skin tissue samples.

That helps researchers track their survival, migration and population rates.

Don Fisher, a part-time Fort Myers resident, said it’s nice not to be in Chicago, where the weather is this cold all year.

Fisher was one of many visitors to Manatee Park on Wednesday.

“Coming from the north, we didn’t see that kind of thing, but they were so light and big, and it was just a fun experience,” Fisher said.

Fisher said he has seen between 20 and 25 manatees up and down the canal.

“They even have a small river at the end of the park,” he said.

The eye-catching morning comes after a record-breaking year for manatee deaths last year, when more than 1,000 manatee deaths were reported due to vegetation.

“Florida is lucky to have such a wonderful mammal and people can see them so easily,” Fisher said.

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