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Manatees on the Move Down the Panhandle

If you’ve logged on to Facebook or Instagram in the last week, you have probably seen dozens of posts about manatee sightings right off of Perdido, Pensacola and Navarre Beaches.

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Our favorite video to date came from Pensacola local, Megan Hensley, when she was pleasantly surprised on her morning paddle when some unexpected visitors snuck up on her. In the video shared above you can see a dozen or more Manatees gracefully gliding through the emerald green waters heading towards Navarre. Follow Megan and more of her paddle boarding adventures on Instagram @whatsupwithmegan.

We believe it was probably the same pod of 19 manatees that was later photographed by Beautiful Moments Photography by BeBe coasting under the Navarre Fishing Pier. It’s hard not to adore these gentle giants and their relaxed demeanor.

Manatees are most commonly found in coastal and riverine areas of peninsular Florida, but they migrate to the northern Gulf Coast during spring and summer, with peak sightings occurring June through August. They use our bays as a migratory corridor and feed on seagrass and other aquatic plants in shallow marine and freshwater habitats.

If there is one thing the entire world can agree on it’s that life is better with manatees. So, how can we help these cutie-pie sea cows when they’re cruising through our beaches? Here’s what we found:

  • Boat slow where seagrasses grow
    Seagrass beds are an important manatee food source. Boat with caution to avoid manatees and seagrass
  • Report sightings at www.panhandlemanatee.org 
    Researchers depend on data from the public to track manatee habits
  • Volunteer with Panhandle Manatee!
    Help protect manatees by educating residents and visitors
  • Do not feed or provide water to manatees
    Doing so can change their natural behavior, migration patterns, and increase the risk of injury
  • Give manatees space
    Do not attempt to pet or swim with the manatees or approach them in their natural habitat
  • Properly discard used nets, fishing line, and trash
    Entanglement or ingestion of marine debris can be fatal to manatees
Photo by De Luna Vision, @deluna_vision on Instagram