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about Florida Manatees!
happens to injured manatees?)
(Note My Children's Book Grants Book of Manatees and Dolphins is drawn from pictures I took at Crytsal River FL fyi)
Manatees are very gentile vegetarian aquatic animals that inhabit estuaries
and shallow seas in a few locations world wide. The manatee indigenous
to Florida is the
West Indian manatee, which unlike the pacific's dugong has a single
tail lobe, while the dugong's tail (and that of the Steller's Sea Cow before
it became extinct in the 1760's) has two lobes like a porpoise. Manatees
spend their lives wondering in family groups from estuary to estuary, and
in the winter will journey far up spring fed rivers to escape the cold
winter. As a result the manatee is often seen in Intercoastal waterways
and up canals, which poses a problem for the manatee. Since coastal
development is at a fever pitch in Florida, and since most people who live
on the water like to have a boat, the manatees and boats are in constant
danger of collision. Also, since most boats use a water screw or
prop as a means of propulsion, the prop becomes the most dangerous part
of a boat to the manatee. While some boat owners in manatee prone
areas do excerise caution, some do not, and as a result the Florida Department
of Fish and Game, or the Florida Marine Patrol get a call from a concerned
person who has noticed the injured manatee. The Florida Marine Patrol
catches the manatee and then takes it to one of several manatee rehabilitation
centers or 'manatee hospitals'.
Sometimes these manatees can be returned to the wild, while some are retained
for breeding to help increase the manatees numbers.
All pictures and text (C) 2006 Bryce L. Meyer All rights reserved.
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