Click the photo above to adopt a manatee // Photo: Cora Berchem, savethemanatees.org
The good news is, in 2016, manatees were knocked off the endangered species list and their status changed to “threatened”. That’s a step, but not ideal. The primary causes of their endangerment is due to entanglement in fishing gear, boat collisions, harassment from humans, red tide, and most of all, loss of habitat.
The greatest long-term threat to manatees involves the loss of warm-water habitat that manatees need to survive. At temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the stress of the cold can become dangerous, or even fatal. Over the past 10 years, Florida’s manatees have had higher-than-usual numbers of deaths from cold stress. The winter of 2010 saw a total of 766 manatees killed, nearly 300 of them by an extended period of very cold weather.
According to Wikipedia, these creatures spend most of their time eating, sleeping, and traveling — which are the three things that I like to do! Maybe I was a manatee in a past life.
Here are some (happy!) fun facts:
– Florida celebrates Manatee Awareness Month during November!
– A long, long time ago sailors apparently thought these cuties were mermaids from afar.
– Florida has had a law to protect them since 1893.
– If you live in Florida, you can call Call 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) to report an injured manatee.
How can you help?
– Collier County Residents: Give Input on Manatee Protection Rule!
– Sign a petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make Three Sisters Springs a true winter sanctuary for manatees.
– Demand Clean Water For Wildlife & People
– Sign The Now Or Neverglades Declaration
– Florida Residents: Help Manatees By Signing A Petition to Restore the Ocklawaha River at Change.org
– Urge Governor Scott To Lead The Way In Safeguarding Florida’s Aquatic Environment
– Adopt-a-Manatee at savethemanatee.org
Sources: savethemanatee.org, defenders.org, The Winter Dolphin Chronicles
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