It is difficult to say whether the overall manatee population is growing or shrinking. Manatee populations in some areas are growing; for example the populations in northwest Florida and the St. Johns River showed a steady increase between 1974 and 1998. However, manatee populations near the Atlantic coast appear to be at a standstill or even decreasing. Although there was some slow growth in the 1980’s, during the 1990’s the population suffered a downturn. Currently, scientists say that the adult numbers near the Atlantic coast are too low to support sustained population growth.
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