Will boating be prohibited in my area if someone reports a manatee sighting?

​No. DISL's Manatee Sighting Network and Dauphin Island Sea Lab are interested in learning more about how manatees live in Alabama waters. We have no regulatory or management authority over use of navigable waterways. We hope the information we collect will help people and manatees to safely coexist in local waters.  

Are manatees still protected?

Yes.  In April 2017, the US Fish and Wildlife Service downlisted manatees from endangered to threatened.  This decision recognizes the success of recovery efforts for the US manatee population; however, threats to manatees remain the same.  Manatees are still protected by federal law under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act and by state law in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast states where the species' occurs.

Do alligators bother manatees?

​According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, alligators have been known to bite satellite tags attached to manatees, and they may prey on calves; however, alligators are not known to be a significant cause of mortality to adult manatees. Boat strikes are the primary cause of mortality among adult manatees. 

What do I do if I hit a manatee while boating or find a stranded, injured, or dead manatee?

​Distressed, injured, or dead manatees should be reported to DISL's Manatee Sighting Network immediately at 1-866-493-5803. If you hit a manatee while boating please report it and provide as much information as possible; you may remain anonymous. 

Are manatees in Alabama, Mississippi, and other northern Gulf of Mexico states lost?

No.  The northern Gulf of Mexico is part of the natural range for manatees.  While water temperatures in these areas become too cold for manatees in the winter, Alabama, Mississippi, and other northern Gulf states provide important warm season habitat for manatees.  

When do manatees come to Alabama and other parts of the northern Gulf?

​Manatees are most often seen in these areas April through October when water temperatures are warm enough to sustain manatees.  Manatees seen outside of Florida after mid-November, should be reported to DISL's Manatee Sighting Network immediately at 1-866-493-5803 as they may become susceptible to potentially fatal cold stress.

To learn more about the West Indian manatee and our work at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's Manatee Sighting Network - check out these great resources or send us an email at manatee@disl.org!