Wildlife Viewing



  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Carry binoculars and a camera with a good zoom lens. If wildlife leaves the area or alters its course, you are probably too close.

  • Do not follow, chase, harass or approach wildlife.

  • Never separate a mother from its young.

  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.

  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.

  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young or winter.

  • The best time for viewing is early morning or evening.

  • Limit time spent observing wildlife.

  • Never surround or corral an animal.


Manatee Viewing

  • Follow all posted rules for Manatee Protection Zones and Sanctuaries.
  • Do not pursue or chase a manatee if you see one while you are swimming, snorkeling, diving, paddling or operating a boat.
  • Never poke, prod or stab a manateewith your hands, feet or any object.
  • Avoid paddling over marine mammals as the need to come up for air.
  • If a manatee avoids you, do not chase the animal for a closer view.
  • Give manatees space to move. Avoid isolating or singling out an individual manatee from its group, and do not separate a cow and her calf.
  • Keep hands and objects to yourself. Do not attempt to snag, hook, hold, grab, pinch, hit or ride a manatee.
  • Avoid excessive noise and splashing if a manatee appears nearby. The manatee may be resting and may surface without being aware of your presence. Noise and activity may startle the animal awake, which may put it in harms way if it is frightened and leaves the area. It could also accidently flip your paddle craft.
  • If the site you visit allows in-water activities near manatees, use snorkel gear and float at the surface of the water to passively observe manatees. The sound of bubbles from SCUBA gear or other devices may cause manatees to leave the area.
  • Be considerate of others in the water viewing the manatees.


     Photos Courtesy of Steve Cournoyer and Don McCumber