Image from Tracy colson
Have you ever met a manatee? Manatees, also known as sea cows, are the gentle giants that roam warm waters around the world, though Florida is the most well known manatee spotting state. Manatees may seem great in population, but the manatee numbers are rapidly declining. What dangers do they face everyday? Don’t they try to run? How can I help? These are just some of the questions I’m about to answer.
Manatees are slow-moving mammals, which makes it easy for them to be hit by a motorboat, or touched by unwanted visitors. Some resorts protect the manatees and forbid any kind of disturbing whatsoever. The guests are able to view the manatees in a way that keeps them safe and happy. Others, allow guests to harass the manatees. They think without the rules, there will be more guests. That way they will have plenty of paying, manatee loving, visitors.
As stated before, manatees are very gentle creatures, so when humans touch them, they don’t fight back. The resort owners take advantage of this disposition. If manatees fought back, people wouldn’t think about them as soft playthings. Unfortunately, manatees stick to their manner, and keep their gentle nature.
Manatees do try to run, but once again, they are very slow sea creatures. The way tour operators get to them is they surround the manatees. The manatees feel enclosed, trapped. The humans feel happy, and unaware how much they are stressing the poor animals. The manatees now have no way to escape the thoughtless humans.
In America, there are state and federal laws in place to help manatees. One is that motorboats cannot go in some waters, and they must slow down in other areas. The law also prohibits touching, harassing, disturbing, or poking. The state fine is $500, and the federal punishment is up to $100,000 and/or a year in jail. You can see that some people are really taking action to save our beloved sea cows.
Unfortunately, manatees are on the endangered species list. The state of Florida has sanctuaries to protect manatees. These sanctuaries are places that are off-limits to human activity such as snorkeling, diving, boating, swimming or even fishing. Scientists also use these places to research manatees, and find out how to help them. The manatees are totally protected in these areas. I think it’s a great idea.
If you want to help the manatees, one way is to simply educate the people around you. You can tell them that manatees are endangered. You can tell them how they can help. Another way is to donate to www.savethemanatee.org or any other website that helps endangered animals. Every penny counts
So remember, manatees are being harmed, and others are making money off of it. I believe that manatees should be allowed to swim free in the open water. Humans need to understand that manatees will be totally wiped out if they continue their harmful ways. Now that you know what is happening, be a manafriend and spread the word.