WATCH: Herd of manatees gather at Florida shore near beachgoers

Beachgoers in South Florida were treated to an amazing sight when a herd of manatees gathered at the shore just feet away. 

Renee Verriello tells FOX 35 News she was at Lover's Key in Fort Myers on Sunday when over a dozen manatees were spotted together. 

"They would swim out a bit then go back onshore," she said. "The mating lasted approximately an hour."

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She called seeing it a "once a lifetime experience."


Renee Moglia Verriello


Renee Moglia Verriello

"I love people to see the positive and absolute beautiful parts of Florida. I am a wildlife landscape photographer here. It was amazing to see the faces on the beach that have never seen a manatee."

Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) says manatee mating season usually begins in April and goes until November. A disturbing report recently revealed that more manatees have died so far this year than any other year on record. 

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The organization said algae fueled by pollution killed off seagrass which leads to starvation, particularly in the winter months. With the boating season underway and red tide problems on the west side of Florida, FWC says the number will continue to increase.

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