Manatee deaths drop

Published: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 3:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 3:55 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State wildlife officials say 317 manatees died in Florida last year, a drop from the year before.

In 2006, there were 417 deaths. The five-year average is 355. The new numbers were in a preliminary report released Monday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Watercraft strikes account for 73 deaths and red tide accounts for 52. The concentration of those deaths was particularly high in southwest Florida.

A recent report from the state and the United States Geological Survey identifies watercraft-related injuries as the most significant long-term threat to manatees.

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