Manatee photo-identification is a research technique that uses the unique pattern of scars and mutilations on a manatee's trunk and tail fluke to identify an individual animal over time.
In Florida, the scars are primarily a result of encounters with boats; however, entanglements in fishing gear, cold stress lesions and fungal infections also can cause scarring. Photo-identification data provide insights into manatee movements, site fidelity, habitat use, behavior, intra- and inter-specific associations, and length of calf dependency.
In addition, the capture histories produced through photo-identification efforts are used to estimate annual adult survival rates and to model population dynamics for state and federal assessments of Florida manatee status and recovery. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission works collaboratively with federal and private partners to document Florida mandates throughout their range.
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Manatee View Center
Apollo Beach, Fl