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More about Florida Manatees!

(What 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.

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