Can't some mating manatees get a little privacy, people?!
On Thursday evening, authorities were called by people concerned that a group of manatees were beached off Courtney Campbell Parkway, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Drivers exited their cars to observe the phenomenon, and police called upon Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff, who revealed that these manatees were not in danger, but rather were simply mating. Up to ten manatees were spotted.
The waters were reportedly secured with crime scene tape to protect the manatees from humans fascinated by manatee lovin'.
Back in 2002, when a hundred onlookers stopped to watch mating manatees off Boca Raton, Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's Penny Husted told the Associated Press that up to 20 males could follow a female manatee until she's receptive. At that time, Husted said a female manatee "will beach herself in shallow areas to hide her genital regions and to basically rest ... It's important that people leave them alone when they do this so she can get the rest that she needs."
The Save The Manatee Club writes on their website that they often receive phone calls regarding a group of "playing" manatees: "Sometimes people also call because they are concerned that the manatees in the estrous herd are injured, stranded, or in distress. In actuality, a mating herd is sort of a free-for-all. In shallower waters, the effect can be quite dramatic with churning waters and flailing flukes and flippers."
The manatee, also known as a "sea cow," is a marine mammal, breathing air at the surface. Manatees are endangered due in large part to hunters, motorboats and fishing nets, National Geographic reports. The IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species adds that anticipated changes in their warm-water habitat could further threaten manatees.
Correction: This piece has been updated to clarify that the most recent situation occurred off the Courtney Campbell Causeway, not Hollywood Beach.
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