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“Be a Hero!” by getting decals that help with the research, rescue, rehabilitation and management of Florida’s endangered manatees and sea turtles.
People can receive a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manatee or sea turtle decal, and show their support for saving these iconic Florida species, with a donation of $5.
Rescues of manatees and sea turtles that are injured, ill or otherwise in distress are one of the many FWC conservation activities supported by decal donations.
The new editions of the decals are originally designed works of art, and available now at local tax collectors’ offices across the state and at MyFWC.com.
“People who voluntarily donate $5 for a manatee or sea turtle decal increase the chances that these species will remain in Florida for many years,” said Carol Knox, the FWC’s imperiled species section leader. “You can be a hero and show support for manatees and sea turtles by placing decals on your car, boat or truck, and on things your kids use a lot - like their computers, backpacks or bikes.”
This year’s edition of the manatee decal provides information on the back side of the decal about how and where to report injured or distressed manatees. Besides calling the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline, 888-404-3922 (FWCC), people can dial #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone or text Tip@MyFWC.com and report the location of the animal, its signs of injury or distress, the nearest boat ramp and contact information.
Often an ordinary citizen reporting an injured or ill manatee or sea turtle leads to the FWC being able to rescue the animal.
The new sea turtle decal features a leatherback sea turtle hatchling and the jellyfish it likes to eat. Leatherbacks, which average 6 feet in length and 500-1,500 pounds, dive deeper, travel farther and tolerate colder waters more than other sea turtles.
The decal serves as a reminder of important tips on how people can help sea turtles survive, which are on the decal backing:
• Keep nesting beaches dark and free of unnecessary artificial light by turning off lights or keeping them low or shielded.
• Remove chairs, boats, canopies and other objects from beaches at night, because they can become obstacles for nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.
• Fill in deep holes on the beach each day, as these can trap nesting females and hatchlings.
• Anchor boats in appropriate locations, avoiding reef and seagrass habitat.
• Properly discard fishing line that can entangle sea turtles and other wildlife.
Floridians can donate the $5 to receive a decal when registering a vehicle or vessel, or when renewing a registration through the mail, online or in person at county tax collectors’ offices across the state. Visitors or individuals from out of state interested in the manatee decal and sea turtle decal can order them online by going to MyFWC.com/Manatee or MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle and clicking on “Decals.” Purchasing the “Save the Manatee” and “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” Florida license plates at BuyaPlate.com also helps protect these species.