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Florida: Record Number Of Manatees Killed In 2016 By Boats

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GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) — Wildlife data in Florida shows that a record number of manatees died in 2016 after being hit by boats, even as the overall number of the beloved marine mammals increased.

Manatee Rescue
Pat Clough, medical director at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, tends to twin baby manatees rescued Sunday, October 2, 2016, in Florida Bay off Tavernier, Fla. The manatees' mother was discovered deceased due to a possible boat strike and the four-month old babies had to be rescued for care and any chance of survival and potential release back into the wild. (Kara Pascucci/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

FWC spokeswoman Katie Purcell says numbers are still being finalized but should be officially released soon.

Overall, the data show 472 manatees died in 2016, with 139 deaths still undetermined and 72 due to natural causes.

There are currently more than 6,000 endangered manatees in Florida.

Jacki Lopez of the Center for Biological Diversity says there are ample legal protections for the manatee, but a lack of law enforcement to properly police state waters.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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