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Herd Of Manatees Seen Mating Off Florida Beach, Gawk At Your Own Risk

Dugong (sea cow) swimming in the Sea.

Photo: iStockphoto

A herd of mating manatees was spotted by beachgoers in Fort Myers off the coast of the appropriately named Lover’s Key.

Renee Verriello, from Cape Coral, shared pictures from the romantic scene on her Facebook page in two posts.

Verriello, who happens to be a wildlife landscape photographer, told the local news she was on the beach a week ago Sunday when she saw about a dozen manatees gathering.

Verriello believes seeing the marine mammals up close was “a once in a lifetime experience.”

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the manatee mating season starts in the spring and can run into the fall.

The agency is warning the public to give these creatures distance if they spot them in action.

More manatees have died this year than in any other year in Florida’s recorded history, thanks in part to the harmful algal bloom known as red tide.

“We want them to mate without people interacting,” said the FWC’s manatee rescue coordinator, Andy Garrett.

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