Officials in Florida are telling people not to touch manatees while they are having sex and to observe mating herds from a distance

Manatees breed in groups called mating herds.
Officials in Florida are asking the public to stop disrupting mating manatees.
The beloved Florida species mates in a herd of one female and many males, sometimes near the shore.
A record number of manatees died in 2021, prompting conservation groups to sue the EPA.

Officials in Florida issued a straightforward request to members of the public this week: Stop touching manatees when the animals are having sex.

The Sarasota Police Department made the announcement on Sunday in conjunction with the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium after a group of mating manatees were spotted near South Lido Beach and “folks were trying to touch them.”

“If you see a manatee mating herd, observe respectfully from a distance. Do NOT touch,” the SPD said in a tweet that was also shared by the marine lab. “If you see a distressed/deceased manatee, call Mote’s hotline 888-345-2335.”

The tweet included photos that showed several manatees cuddled up near the…

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This article was written by [email protected] (Kelsey Vlamis) and originally published on www.businessinsider.com