That’s the link part, so let’s get into this animal. I’m sure anyone who has ever heard of a manatee now has an image in their mind. Chubby, grayish blue, wide tail, floating around, maybe some scars, and squinty-eyed face that looks rather serene. They may look like seals, but they’re not. They are their own creature with 3 definite species, 1 disputed species, and a close relative that I’m adding in.
Now, we tend to think of manatees being in Florida because that’s where those of us in America hear about them. Yet, they’re also found in Western Africa and around the Amazon River. Those are two other species. I couldn’t find populations on the others, but the West Indian/North American/Florida manatee was at 13,000. That isn’t a lot and they are endangered because of:
- Poaching for their meat, oils, and other body parts.
- Pollution such as getting tangled in fishing lines.
- Degradation of their environment caused by climate change.
- Getting hit by boats, which is why many have scars.
- Algae blooms such as red tide, which can poison them.
- The fact that they reproduce slowly with have maybe 1 calf every 2 years.
Oddly enough, manatees don’t have many predators and their reaction to a threat is dive deeper. This could mean that they never had to fear sharks and other water-based enemies, but land threats were a thing. Gee, I wonder which animal would teach them to dive to escape. Just look in a mirror because you know it’s humans. We strike again!
Let’s get to the pictures:
Those are the three main species. The following two are a disputed species, which looks very much like the Amazonian, and the fourth member of the Sirenia order.
Now for some videoes:
Fun fact: Manatees regulate their buoyancy through farting.