Synoptic Surveys: 1991 - 2006

Each year, as mandated by the Florida Legislature, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) coordinates at least one statewide (synoptic) aerial survey to count manatees. A synoptic survey is a statewide aerial survey designed to get a head count of individual manatees. The success of synoptic surveys is very dependent on weather conditions. If the weather is cold and clear, then manatees are gathered around warm water sites, making it easier to get a count. Synoptic surveys are not the most reliable way to determine overall manatee population. They are simply a snapshot of the number of manatees seen on those days. Information such as manatee population health and trends cannot be inferred from the survey counts, for example.

According to FWCC biologists, a more accurate picture of the manatee population could be obtained by looking at factors such as past and projected population trends, area of geographic range and critical habitat, the number of mature individuals, and the probability of extinction.

Date

Number of Manatees Counted

February 13-15, 2006

3,116

January 26, 2005

3,143

February 20, 2004

2,505

January 26-28, 2003

3,106

January 21-22, 2003

3,127

January 9, 2003 2,843
March 1, 2002
1,758
January 5-6, 2001
3,300
January 26-27, 2000
2,223

January 16-17, 2000

1,646
March 6, 1999
2,360

February 23, 1999

2,023
January 6, 1999
1,865
January 29-30, 1998
2,018
February 13, 1997
1,715

January 19-20, 1997

2,241
February 18-19, 1996
2,630

January 9-10, 1996

2,277
February 6-7, 1995
1,823
January 21-22, 1995
1,456
January 17-18, 1992
1,844

February 17-18, 1991

1,478

January 23-24, 1991

1,267






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