A Florida-based corporation, EarthNC, through their conservation venture Conserve.IO, has teamed up with Save the Manatee Club to help boaters reduce the chance of hitting and harming manatees in Florida waterways, with the free “Manatee Alert App.”
This smart phone-based map displays instructive visual alerts, notifying boaters when they are approaching manatee speed zones. It also helps facilitate the reporting of injured manatees and manatee harassment to the proper authorities to ensure urgent help where needed.
“The new Manatee Alert App is a good example of how smart phone technology can help the public become better informed, help protect an endangered species, and contribute to preserving our environment,” says Brad Winney of Conserve.IO. “With the majority of the public now having some form of smart phone or tablet, applications like Manatee Alert can provide safety and conservation messages in real-time.”
During the busy Labor Day weekend and throughout the year, manatees are especially vulnerable to the heavy boat traffic moving through the waterways in every direction. Florida’s manatees have already suffered a catastrophic year due to a prolonged red tide event in southwest Florida and an unknown toxin in the Indian River Lagoon.
There have been 717 manatee deaths from all causes so far since Aug 9, 2013, which is higher than any previous year’s total mortality, with exception of the cold stress mortality event in 2010. At the current rate, the mortality for 2013 will likely break all previous yearly mortality records since record keeping began.
In addition to these complex events, boat collisions continue to pose a serious long-term threat to the manatee population.
“Since many manatees inhabiting Florida waters bear the scars from past encounters with boats, use of the Manatee Alert App can go a long way towards preventing such injuries and deaths,” says Dr. Katie Tripp, Save the Manatee Club’s Director of Science and Conservation.
Tripp is excited about the new app’s ability to help boaters help manatees. “People from all over the world vacation in Florida and many recreate on Florida waters. Public awareness and education to reach residents and visiting boaters are essential keys to manatee protection.”
The Florida boating community is encouraged to get the free Manatee Alert App as well as Save the Manatee Club’s free public awareness materials to help prevent manatee injuries, suffering, and death.
Waterproof boating banners, dock signs for Florida shoreline property owners, boating decals, and waterway cards containing safe boating information, are available by contacting Save the Manatee Club via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by regular mail at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751, or by calling toll free at 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).
Manatee protection tips for boaters can also be found on the Club’s website at http://www.savethemanatee.org/boatertips.htm.
Go to http://bit.ly/15EYen6 to download the free Manatee Alert App. Conserve.IO, based in Delray Beach, Florida, develops mobile applications for conservation organizations. For more information, go to www.conserve.io.
Find out more information on endangered manatees and the Adopt-A-Manatee® program by visiting www.savethemanatee.org.
Save the Manatee Club, a Florida-based international nonprofit conservation and manatee welfare organization, was started in 1981 by U.S. Senator Bob Graham and singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett so the general public could participate in conservation efforts to save the endangered manatee. The Club is now one of the largest organizations in the world devoted to the protection of a single species. Watch manatees in their natural habitat on the Club’s Blue Spring webcams at manatv.org.