Saving Manatee: Get Involved

Our very beloved sea cows which have just left the endangered species list have had pretty rough years. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have down listed these bulky creatures following a significant improvement in their natural habitat and a steady increase in their growth, the Manatees still need saving.

Saving manatee is a great way to keep our favorite sea cow population growing. We, humans, are in fact the biggest threats to saving manatee as these water mammals don’t have any natural enemies or predators; however, we humans can kill or injure manatees maybe even accidentally with our boats.

 Also, manatees habitats have been degraded by guess who? Humans. We have done these by blocking natural springs and even building up coastlines. We have also directly or indirectly accelerated seagrass and see vegetation loss. You know the man is the major enemy of an animal we claim to love. We failed manatee and got them and their natural environment classified as endangered.  It’s only fair that we stand up and fight to save these adorable water mammals.

Manatee habitat and range

Our favorite sea cows (Manatees) are usually found in shallow, slow-moving water bodies like canals, rivers, saltwater bays, coastal areas, and estuaries. They concentrate on areas with an abundance of seagrass and other freshwater vegetation. They are a migratory species known to swim to long distances. In the U.S. Manatees migrate to Florida during winter while in the summertime they flock to Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina but can be found in West at Texas and even as far north as waterways in Massachusetts. The West Indian Manatees have wanderers migrating to the Northern Coast of South American and the inland and coastal waterways of Central America.

Manatee Population, lifespan, and Mortality

According to the February 2017 synoptic survey which is most recent carried out, the minimum population of manatees stands at 6,620. Since they are easy going animals without a natural enemy, their lifespan is placed at between 40 to 60 years. The manatee mortality is shared between several factors including natural causes of death like pneumonia, gastrointestinal diseases, cold stress and other unchecked diseases. However, a high number of fatalities are caused by human involvement, with most of these human-related fatalities resulting from collisions with boats and other watercrafts. Asides collisions, many manatees, die by being drowned and/or crushed in canal locks and several other flood control structures. Some other causes of manatee deaths include swallowing litters, fish hooks, and monofilament line, and being hooked in crab trap lines. However, the most serious threat Manatees in the United States face today is the loss of their natural habitat. 

Get involved in saving Manatees

Since someone had to start the campaign to save the manatees, was established. The Save the Manatee club was started by the duo of former Governor of the state of Florida and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, and singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet in 1981. The club had a single mission – to protect both manatees and their natural habitat. The Save, the Manatee Club, is today the world’s leading conversation organization for the sea cows.  

You too can get involved in saving manatees. You can begin by reporting an injured manatee. Report an injured manatee:

  • If you spot a manatee with either a pink or red wound or if you notice deep cuts. This can mean the injury is fresh.
  • If you spot a manatee with either a white or grayish-white wound. This could mean the injury has healed, but since the manatee might still be internally injured, you need to report it so it can be properly observed.
  • If you spot a manatee acting strangely like tilting to a side or one that is unable to submerge or looks like it’s having problems breathing.
  • If you spot a manatee calf without adult supervision for a long time. Manatee calves are usually dependent on their mothers for as long as two (2) years. If the calf is yet to wean fully and the mother dies, there’s a high probability that the calf won’t last long on its own.
  • If you notice someone harassing a manatee.
  • If you notice boaters speeding in manatee protected areas.
  • If you spot a manatee tangled in crab trap lines, monofilament line or other debris. Please don’t attempt removing this debris yourself to avoid further injuring the manatee as debris may stick under the skin and only a well trained veterinarian can access and fix the damage done.
  • If you spot a dead manatee. Scientists can perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
  • If you spot tagged manatees (with either a satellite or radio transmitter). These sightings can assist scientists and researchers in figuring out ways to protect both the manatee and their environment. Please do not attempt to remove these transmitters as they are designed to come off should they discomfort the manatee automatically.

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