View Full Version : Manatees

Taker Fan
03-08-05, 00:22
I found some information about these cute creatures online. Here is the information and
I will be finding some pics of them. This information is from a site.

" Although their bulbous, whiskery face makes this hard to believe today, manatees are probably the source of legends about mermaids. Their humanlike eyes must have captivated the early European sailors who caught fleeting glimpses of them swimming in the warm waters of the West Indies. In the 17th century, mermaids were depicted with their male companions, mermen. Although the legends of these half-fish, half-human creatures have lived on for hundreds of years and are still popular today, it is uncertain whether the manatees that inspired the legends will live on much longer. Only a concerted effort to protect them in their marine habitat will save manatees from extinction.
Range and Status

Manatees inhabit warm waters of the Western Atlantic from Florida to Brazil where they live in coastal waters, freshwater inlets, and river mouths. Warm Florida waters have provided wintering refuges for manatees in natural warm water springs. They also are attracted to the warm water outflow from power plants, where on occasion a manatee has gotten stuck and rescue efforts have made the evening news.

Although their range is quite large, manatees today exist only in a few small, isolated populations. They once were widespread in rivers and along coasts in their range, but they were hunted extensively in the 18th and 19th centuries. Coastal development has further reduced their populations. Today, there are less than 2,000 manatees remaining in the United States.
Natural History

The manatee is a large, bulky aquatic mammal with flippered forelimbs and a spatula-shaped tail. Manatees can grow to 12 feet in length and weigh up to 3500 pounds. They may live to be 50 years old. The manatee diet consists entirely of vegetation, consuming at a rate of 100 pounds a day. They eat by using their divided upper lip, which is very flexible, to grasp and take in aquatic plants. Like other air-breathing marine mammals (dolphins, whales, and seals), manatees must periodically surface for air.

Females reach sexual maturity between five and nine years of age, but they do not produce many offspring; more animals are killed each year than are born. Mothers are strongly bonded to their calves, but other social ties among manatees are very loose. They are extremely gentle and have been described as incapable of aggression.

Manatees are one of four living species in the Order Sirenia, which also includes the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee, and the dugong. Another sirenian, the Steller's sea cow, became extinct in the 1700s. The sirenians evolved from an ancestor they share with the elephant, their closest living land relative.
Causes of Endangerment

The manatee has no known predators other than humans. In the past, humans hunted manatees extensively for their meat, fat, and tough hides. In some parts of the Caribbean and South America, manatees are still hunted for food.
Powerboat Collisions

Powerboats are now the greatest threat to manatees. Manatees are slow, near-surface swimmers, and the number of collisions with motorboats is increasing at an alarming rate. In 1990, 218 manatees, which comprised 12 percent of the United States' manatee population, were killed in boating accidents, and many more were injured. A recent project to capture, tag, and release manatees revealed that many bore the scars of encounters with speed boats.
Coastal Development

Residential and commercial development along rivers and waterways has also affected the manatee population. Habitat destruction has damaged the estuarine seagrass communities on which manatees depend. In addition, chemical pollution has impaired the immune systems of marine mammals, and the manatees may have become more vulnerable to infection as a result.

Recent mass deaths among marine mammals have been traced to greater disease vulnerability due to chemical pollution. In 1988, over 10,000 harbor seals died in Denmark and Sweden from a virus related to canine distemper. PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyl) in the water contaminate the fish that the seals eat. The PCB's accumulate in the seals and make them more susceptible diseases. Other pollution-related mass deaths have occurred recently in bottle-nosed dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico (1988) and striped dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea (1991).

Sadly, manatees seem to be experiencing an epidemic too. Since the beginning of 1996, more than 250 manatees have been found dead in southwestern Florida. With their population already severely reduced due to other causes, a single epidemic such as this could push the manatee beyond the point of no return, into an extinction vortex. The spread of the disease may be facilitated by the gathering of manatees at the warm-water outflows of power plants. "It's a horrible tragedy," says Florida governor Lawton Chiles. "This is the single worst die-off we've ever seen with an endangered species in this state."
Conservation Actions
Protected Areas

Manatees have been protected for an unusually long time. The English declared Florida a manatee sanctuary in the 1700s and hunting manatees was prohibited. Sanctuary from hunters has not protected the manatee from speed boats, however. Speed limits in waterways can help manatees by giving them enough time to avoid collisions and reducing the severity of collisions when they do occur.

Manatees spend hours grazing underwater everyday, and they can be very exciting to watch in their natural habitat. Manatee-watching tourism gives local people a financial incentive to preserve the species, since tourists spend their dollars at local businesses. Tourists may be inspired to do something to help these beautiful and mysterious creatures.

In Belize, manatee-watching tourism has been a very successful conservation action. Not long ago, local people hunted manatees with rifles, while today manatees are a big attraction for tourist dollars. Unfortunately, the boats that take passengers out to view the manatees have become an increasing threat. Collisions with motor boats are becoming more common and are an increasing cause of manatee mortality in Belize.


More scientific research is needed to understand manatees and their needs. One current study is tracking manatees by satellite to learn more about where they go and what they do. We need to know more about their calving and feeding behaviors.
Citizen Involvement

Citizens are helping to preserve manatees through the Save the Manatee Club, an organization co-founded by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffet. Citizen involvement also has been an important factor in tracking the recent wave of manatee deaths in Florida. Reports from concerned people are helping scientists study and understand the causes and effects of the epidemic. "

Taker Fan
03-08-05, 00:25
Here are some pics of them.
These manatees are snuggling which is how Manatees comunicate to one another. They are so cute
This is when a boat's propellar struct the Manatee's tail.
This is when a manatee is about to surface for air.
More pics are coming soon.

03-08-05, 00:28
Originally posted by Taker Fan:
These manatees are snuggling which is how Manatees comunicate to one another. They are so cute
Awww that's so nice! http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif

Taker Fan
03-08-05, 00:31
I know there are soo cute!!! But remember, there almost extinct and everyone here, please help the adorable manatees. They are vegitearians. ( is that how you spell it? ) They do not harm any human or anyone.

03-08-05, 00:36
vegetarians* http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif I agree, these animals need help to survive. I hear about boater's blades cut them and they get hurt or die. :( Luckily there are zoo's that take them in to heal and save them. I'm a complete animal rights activist.

[ 03. August 2005, 01:37: Message edited by: THORN ]

Taker Fan
03-08-05, 00:40
They also die from a special partical in the water and it's sad. You could see them at Sea World or if you would like to swim with them, you got to Hommosassa Springs Wild Life Park in Florida.

03-08-05, 00:50
So why did you research manatees? For school or just interest? I'd go to Sea World to see the manatees but not for the rollercoasters. I always get sick on them... lol!

Camera Obscura
03-08-05, 00:56
Yes it's a shame how this world is coming to. If we don't watch out the manatees (and other animals) will perish off the face of the world. Not many people help. Like Thorn said, they are hunted down and killed by savage and malicious people just for the acquirement of their skin or body parts.

Zoos try their best at keeping these endangered creatures safe but as the killing continues, so does the amount of endangered animals. Unfortunately, zoos can't save all of these animals and some people can't take into consideration the consequences of the extinction of these animals; the same like cutting down trees and polluting.

We don't know how the disappearance of endangered creatures will affect us nor how they will affect the environment. This is why it is important to care for issues like these, it won't improve until we make it improve. We are the ones who have to take care of the animals, the environment, and our ourselves.

[ 03. August 2005, 01:58: Message edited by: Camera Obscura ]

Taker Fan
03-08-05, 01:01
That is such a beutiful speech Camera Obscura. (cries) Here are some more images of them.
A diver is touching a manatee's stomach.
An inquisitive baby plays with a snorkeller's fin.
Here are two manatees that are looking at each other.

03-08-05, 01:19
They are so cute. I would love to swim with them. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif

Taker Fan
03-08-05, 01:20
Cost alot though.

03-08-05, 01:26
Aww, manatees are beautiful creatures. I agree with Camera Obscura. It's ashame what this world's coming to. But it's all men for themselves.

Wow, that's some great research, Taker Fan. Great work. It's nice to see someone else who is interested in these matters of nature and it's many delicate creatures.

03-08-05, 01:27
You have to pay to swim with them? Argh that sucks! Though if the money went to the manatees I'd definately do it! http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif So have you seen them in person Taker Fan?

Taker Fan
03-08-05, 01:28
Thank you xMiSsCrOfTx. But still, this research is not over yet. And yes I have see them in person, at Sea World of coarse. I think you pay around 900 dollars to swim with them I think? These manatees also make chirping noises that sounds like squeals. To hear it, I think you have to swim with them.

[ 03. August 2005, 02:32: Message edited by: Taker Fan ]

03-08-05, 01:33
I went to Sea World but I must've missed the Manatee exhibit, because I don't recall seeing any. I wish I could've seen them! All I did was go on this stupid ride called the Atlantis, it had a crazy huge drop, and then a roller coaster inside in the dark... You can only imagine how I handled that.


Taker Fan
03-08-05, 01:37
What's the Roller Coaster in the dark? Oh and what time did you see the manatees?

03-08-05, 01:39
Oh, it was just a part of the Atlantis ride itself, sort of an add-on type thing. Unfortunatley I didn't see the manatees at Sea World, but I remember seeing some at the Shedd Aquarium here in Chicago, Illinois. They were so graceful. I also liked the baby Beluga whales. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/tongue.gif

Taker Fan
03-08-05, 01:57
Actually, it's only around 30 dollars to swim with them.