The year 2013 was an unlucky one for manatees, the gentle, rotund sea mammals that live along the coastline of the Florida peninsula. The 829 known deaths last year were the highest annual total since biologists began keeping records of this endangered species.
It's hard out there for a manatee under the best of circumstances. Because they swim just under water to feed on marine vegetation and surface regularly to breathe, they're often killed by the hulls and propellers of speeding watercraft.
Also, they're essentially tropical animals and can't tolerate prolonged periods of cold. An abnormally frigid winter in 2010 was the major factor in that year's 766 deaths, the previous record annual total.
Of the 6,500 individuals believed to live in