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A manatee was killed by a boat strike in Citrus County waters, pushing the number of manatee deaths closer to last year’s total.

Members of and volunteers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC’s) Manatee Research & Rescue team recovered the adult manatee’s body Thursday afternoon from the Homosassa River, FWC spokeswoman Michelle Kerr said Friday.

Kerr said necropsy results are still pending, but she could confirm the manatee was killed by a watercraft.

At least five manatees have been killed by vessels in Citrus County this year, just one death shy of last year’s number, according to FWC. A total of 21 manatee deaths have been documented in the county this year by FWC, which recorded 25 in Citrus for all of 2018.

FWC wants to remind boaters to be responsible when sharing the waterways with manatees.

To help avoid manatees, wear polarized sunglasses, look for rings on the water’s surface, have a spotter on the boat to be watchful for manatees, stay in marked channels and obey speed zones.

To report a sick, injured, dead or tagged manatee call FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922, and press “7” for an operator. Cellphone users can also dial *392 or #392.

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.

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