TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Despite it being a deadly year for manatees, Florida wildlife officials believe the threatened sea cow population is doing better than previously thought.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission now says roughly 7,500 to 10,300 manatees swim in state waters, a significant increase from previous estimates of roughly 6,000.
A statement Tuesday said the population estimate comes from data collected in a 2015-2016 survey and analyzed with upgraded computer models.
Experts blame a winter cold snap, a prolonged red tide and collisions with boats. Wildlife commission statistics show red tide caused or is suspected in over 200 manatee deaths.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)