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Give Manatees Sanctuary in Kings Bay

Please watch the video and click here to sign the petition at the bottom of the page to make Three Sisters Springs a true manatee sanctuary.

Prelude No. 16 (Chris Zabriskie) / CC BY 4.0
The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan (Chris Zabriskie) / CC BY 4.0


Endangered manatees travel to the warm springs of Kings Bay, in Florida’s Citrus County, to survive the cold winters. Upon their arrival, they are rebuffed by thousands of humans whose careless behaviors deny them access to or chase them from these critically important warm-water refuges. The existing sanctuaries manatees have, which are off limits to this human interaction, are too small and too few. A case in point is Three Sisters Springs, where only two small sanctuaries exist, outside the springs. When manatees want to swim into the springs for vital protection, they must swim through a shallow, narrow opening while competing with swimmers, snorkelers, and kayakers all vying to touch and get as close as possible to the manatees. To watch a manatee swimming toward the springs, only to be forced to turn around and head back to colder water upon being chased or encountering a wall of human legs blocking the spring run, is heartbreaking.
Please sign our petition below to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to make Three Sisters a true winter sanctuary for manatees; create additional Kings Bay winter sanctuaries at House and Jurassic Springs so manatees can rest undisturbed; and implement a no-touch policy for this endangered marine mammal.

When manatees want to swim into the springs for vital protection, they must swim through a shallow, narrow opening while competing with swimmers, snorkelers, and kayakers all vying to touch and get as close as possible to the manatees.(Photo © David Schrichte)

In recent years, the USFWS has taken interim measures to better protect manatees, including temporary closures of Three Sisters. While these are steps in the right direction, we simply can’t watch manatees denied the ability to rest undisturbed for another winter. The law dictates that manatees deserve better protection than what has been afforded them in the past. The U.S. Marine Mammal Commission has written the USFWS multiple times calling for better protections for manatees in Kings Bay. Their most recent letter in August 2011 asserted that “more could and should be done.” The Commission “believes that escalating numbers of harassment reports have been directly related to policies that allow divers to pet and rub wild manatees and to approach animals within inches. As a result, divers hoping to touch a manatee approach, disturb, and harass many manatees that shun human contact.” The Commission told the Service that if it “intends to promote passive manatee viewing and its endorsement of the Marine Wildlife Viewing Guidelines is sincere, it should reinforce that message with regulations that are consistent with those principles by prohibiting all touching of manatees in the wild.

Please help us reach our goal of one million signatures for the manatees by signing this petition, showing that you urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make Three Sisters Springs a true manatee sanctuary. Just fill in your name, address, and email address below and then click the "Submit" button. We will then deliver the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Endangered manatees travel to the warm springs of Kings Bay, in Florida’s Citrus County, to survive the cold winters. Upon their arrival, they are rebuffed by thousands of humans whose careless behaviors deny them access to or chase them from these critically important warm-water refuges. (Photo © David Schrichte)



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    Save the Manatee Club was established in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and Bob Graham, former U.S. Senator and Florida Governor. Our mission is to protect endangered manatees and their aquatic habitat for future generations.


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