BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Manatees are on the move. It's migration season for the animals, as they head to warmer waters.

  • Migration season has started for manatees, says FWC
  • Manatees head to warm waters; struggle w/ 68 degrees or cooler
  • Hotline if you see injured manatee:  888-404-FWCC

It means the 1,000 pound or more sea cows are heading for areas around power plants, hot springs, and canals. They struggle when the water temperature gets 68 degrees or cooler.

Wednesday, it was time for Briar Rose to return to the Indian River Lagoon. The young manatee washed up on New Smyrna Beach in March.

She was underweight, so Florida Fish and Wildlife workers took her in for rehabilitation.

"Because she was rescued as a young animal, we want to monitor her into the winter," said Bill Greer, an FWC manatee expert.

FWC urges boaters like Tim Burke not to disturb these places and observe manatee protection zones. Boats might cause them to leave warm water, putting them at risk of exposure.

"There's more awareness now than ever," Burke said. "And that's a really good thing when it gets cold."

That means there's a better chance for manatees like this to live long lives and stay warm when cold snaps happen.

FWC has a hotline set up if you see an injured manatee: 888-404-FWCC or *FWC on your cell.

Florida invests more than $2 million each year to protect and save manatees.