Florida manatees constitute the largest known group of West Indian manatees anywhere in the species’ range. Outside the United States, manatees occur in the Greater Antilles, on the east coast of Mexico and Central America, along the north and northeastern coast of South America, and in Trinidad (Lefebvre et al. 2001, cited in USFWS 2001).
In the southeastern United States, manatees occur primarily in Florida and southeastern Georgia, but individuals can range as far north as Chesapeake Bay or even Rhode Island on the Atlantic coast, and probably as far west as Texas on the Gulf coast (USFWS 2001). In summer, is now not uncommon to find manatees in coastal waters of Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana (Federal Register, 75 FR 1574-1579).
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