Manatees gather in canal off Desoto Parkway in Satellite Beach

Dozens of manatees are gathering in a canal on the Space Coast and they are making a splash with visitors in Satellite Beach.

According to officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the manatees are gathering in a Desoto Parkway canal to stay warm after the recent cold front Central Florida experienced this week.

For visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the sea cows, FWC officials ask that they do just that and avoid touching them because this could spook the manatees, causing them to swim back out to the lagoon where they could freeze and die.

The FWC reports that manatee deaths are at an all-time high due to boaters and in 2019 alone, the manatee death toll reached approximately 130.

Despite this, the FWC says that the number of manatees counted in their annual survey grows larger every year, with over five thousand being counted in 2019.  Biologists say they think there are thousands more which means that the manatee is no longer designated as an endangered species, but rather a threatened one.