MIAMI -- Aided by a string of cold snaps, state scientists counted a record number of manatees in Florida waters this year.
The annual aerial count, conducted two weeks ago, recorded 3,807 manatees, topping the previous high in 2001 by more than 500 animals, according to a report released Wednesday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
Wildlife managers cautioned that the aerial counts don't mean the population has suddenly boomed or the endangered mammal is no longer at risk. They amount to a snapshot, a minimum number that can vary wildly according to weather.
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