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  1. Hillsborough

ZooTampa: Manatee dies after it was struck by a boat in Clearwater

Manatees swim at Lowry Park Zoo's Manatee and Aquatic Center in Tampa. Times (2014)
Manatees swim at Lowry Park Zoo's Manatee and Aquatic Center in Tampa. Times (2014)

TAMPA — A manatee died Friday after being struck repeatedly by a boat in Clearwater, according to a statement provided by ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission alerted the zoo, which rushed to the manatee's aid but couldn't save the creature, according to the zoo officials.

"The Zoo is committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of this iconic Florida species and remains steadfast in its mission to the conservation of manatees through critical care and education to prevent human-caused threats to manatees," the zoo's statement said. "We encourage everyone to be mindful of potential consequences of propeller strikes on wildlife while boating."

Florida Fish and Wildlife's website advises that 25 to 30 percent of manatee deaths are caused by boats. Wildlife officials urge boaters to abide by posted speed limits in areas manatees are known to like, wear sunglasses to better spot them, stay in deep waters and avoid going over seagrass beds.

What if you see a manatee while your on a boat? Stay at least 50 feet away, the website advises.

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