A lovable and widely known species, manatee's are often called “gentle giants." They are slow-moving, peaceful animals that are drawn toward human activity in search of warmth and new sights. Manatees are also known as sea cows, However, despite the name, they are more closely related to elephants. Manatees live in shallow, calm rivers, estuaries, bays, canals and coastal areas. Surprisingly, they can travel from fresh to salt water without any problems. These lovable animals attract all sorts of attention when they're spotted in the open ocean; I mean, how could you not love these guys? Manatees are just one example of the amazing sea life that calls the ocean home. Unfortunately, like other animals, they're also on the endangered list.
Manatees have been deemed endangered due to their dropping population rate. So what has caused manatees to become apart of the endangered species list? There are two major threats:
Loss of Habitat: New establishments are built near waterways causing nesting and feed areas to be destroyed. Toxins are also released into the feed areas such as, manure, sewage, and fertilizers; this run-off causes algae blooms. These blooms can be toxic to Manatees to eat and lead to death.
Collisions with Ships/Boat propellers: Manatees often spend their time in shallow waters feeding on sea grass. Due to their large, slow-moving stature, this leaves little time for a Manatee to maneuver out of the way of oncoming boats, leading to deadly or fatal injuries.
As sad as this is, there are always ways to help these amazing creatures! Keeping the public informed of their presence in shallow waters can help boaters keep an eye out. Even simple things like Manatee signs in certain areas of waters could be beneficial in helping this species. Below are links to conservation funds and petitions to help protect our manatees! Do your part and help this species!