The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex boasts the world’s largest concentration of manatees. And, that proved especially true recently.
“It’s gotten a little crowded at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex this week,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted on Facebook. “Over 300 #manatees swam into Three Sisters Springs, prompting a closure to swimmers and kayakers on Monday.”
Behold manatee madness.
The refuge is a collection of five refuges along Florida’s Gulf Coast. It was founded in 1983 to protects the endangered West Indian Manatee. The concentration of manatees within a natural winter habitat can exceed 550 manatees on extremely cold days, according to officials. People are even invited to swim and boat with the lovable creatures.
Here are some tips for boaters. Boats have been known to crash into and injure slow-moving manatees.
During the winter season you can even watch the animals on a manatee cam. Generally, cold clear days provide the best viewing opportunities, the refuge says.
In case the manatee cam isn’t live streaming, here are some recent shots of the delightful critters.