New manatee, turtle decals out

Show your support for manatees and sea turtles with new waterproof decals available for $5 each from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Decals generate funding for research, education, rescue and management efforts that help Florida’s manatees and sea turtles survive. For example, when someone calls the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) to report an injured, entangled or sick manatee or sea turtle, FWC staff responds with efforts to rescue and rehabilitate the animal.

The decals also address important conservation issues.

The “I’m making a difference” manatee decal shows several manatees, including a mother and calf. The back of the decal notes that the manatee is now classified as a threatened species, rather than an endangered species, under the federal Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this change in early 2017, a signal that efforts to conserve the state’s marine mammal are succeeding.

The “Shield Your Lights for a Sea Turtle Friendly Night” decal shows an adult female loggerhead on the beach against a background of darkened buildings. The back of the decal reports that nearly 97,000 loggerhead nests were counted during the 2017 Florida sea turtle nesting season. It reminds people to manage beachfront lights to protect nesting and hatchling sea turtles during nesting season, which continues through the end of October, and offers other tips on helping sea turtles. This species also has been reclassified as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Learn about ways to help conserve manatees and sea turtles at MyFWC.com/Manatee and MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle, where you also can click on “Decals” to order new or past editions of decals. You can also get them when registering or re-registering a vehicle or boat at local tax collectors’ offices.

Go to BuyaPlate.com to purchase a “Save the Manatee” or “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” license plate that supports those species.