Protect Manatee Habitat in Florida

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed to establish a permanent protected refuge area in Kings Bay, Florida that would safeguard manatees from watercraft collisions and harassment. FWS has requested public comments about the refuge. Please sign the petition to protect manatees and establish a permanent refuge in Kings Bay.

Manatees are gentle and slow-moving animals. Deaths and injuries are often caused by watercraft collisions, and an increasing number of tourists are not viewing these animals in a responsible way. The proposed refuge would enact slow speed zones, safe manatee-viewing guidelines and other regulations to protect manatees from harm.

Sign the petition to create a federally protected refuge for manatees.
Dear Fish and Wildlife Service Official,

Your agency recently requested public comments concerning the proposed manatee refuge in Kings Bay, Florida that would protect the animals from watercraft collisions and harassment. Hundreds of federally "endangered" and "depleted" manatees actively use the waters of Kings Bay. I strongly support greater protection of this important area to safeguard manatees from injuries and death.

Manatees are gentle and slow-moving animals and are negatively affected by Florida's growing human population and coastal development. Injuries and deaths are mainly caused by watercraft collisions (the crushing impact of the hull and/or slashing of the propellers) but also by other waterborne activities:

- With larger commercial vessels moving through shallow water, manatees may get caught between the vessel and the water bottom, or the vessel and a docking structure and be crushed;
- Flood gates or canal locks can crush or drown the animals;
- Manatees can ingest marine debris or become entangled and drown in monofilament line and fishing gear and;
- An increasing number of tourists are spending time viewing these animals in an irresponsible way, disturbing the manatees' natural behaviors in a critically important feeding and sheltering area.

The proposed refuge would enact slow speed zones, manatee-viewing guidelines and other regulations to protect manatees from harm.

[Your comments will be added here]

Please protect Florida's manatees and establish a permanent refuge in Kings Bay.
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