By: Vivienne Wellet
Manatees, also known as “Sea Cows”, are beautiful mammals that a variety of people love. However, that’s not the case for some. In 2021,over 1,000 manatees died due to boat propellers, fishing gear, habitation loss, fragmentation, cold stress, toxic red tides, and plastic. Environmental police said that this is the most manatees that have ever died than any other year.
Due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, harassment, feeding, hunting, capturing, and killing any marine animal that is endangered, such as manatees. The reason why people like to hunt for them is because of their meat. Someone had said that manatee meat tastes like pork and beef but is better.
The three species of manatee are the West Indian Manatee native to North America &Brazil, the Amazonian Manatee native to the Amazon River, and the African Manatee which swims by the west coast of Africa. No matter the species, manatees can survive in fresh, salt, and brackish waters.
Due to the increase in pollution in bodies of water, Taking a closer look, there are millions of pellets of plastic that marine life has consumed. Manatees eat seagrass, that’s a common fact, but when you dump tons of pollution into the ocean, then it gets more complicated. The “sea cows” of the ocean go to eat the seagrass, but mix it up with waste. Florida Wildlife Officials explained that they received 8 million dollars to help manatees have an everlasting life, adding on to their 60 million years on this earth.
“Save the Manatee” is a group coordinated project where they try to help, protect, and save this mammal species. According to the group there are only 7,000 manatee’s left in Florida’s waters, andore than half of 600 manatee’s come back to the program because they can’t find nutrients.
Algae, also known as “Super Bloon,” blocks the seagrass from getting sun, which leads to the production of seagrass to decrease. The Indian River Lagoon lost 50-80 percent of their seagrass and according to Save the Manatee Group, “it would be about $5 billion to repair the damage that had been done to the sea grass.”
When manatees have offspring also known as calves, they feed their calves and not themselves until they can’t anymore. Patrick Rose, the executive director at the Save The Manatee club said “usually when manatees are near shore where we can reach them and when they can’t find food they feed them vegetables, cabbage, lettuce, and any other greens.” Hopefully the manatee’s will get their nutrients and won’t starve.
Picture from Save the Manatee Club