Sumary of 8 things you need to know about manatees, as record die-off in Florida puts species in peril:
- We don’t want to meet anyone not charmed by the gormless but friendly face of a manatee, the docile aquatic herbivores affectionately known as sea cows.
- But tragically this long-troubled species is facing more difficulties than ever, with monitoring authorities in Florida currently recording the highest number of annual manatee deaths in a year only half over.
- The die-off is dire for more than the manatees themselves.
- Manatees are ‘indicator species’ that thrive on a flourishing ecosystem, and their status can imply a lot about the health of their underwater habitat.
- Founded in 1981 by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett and then Florida governor Bob Graham, the Save the Manatee Club offers up several ways you can help these endangered creatures, such as adopting a manatee or purchasing an annual membership.
- They eat a lot Manatees sustain their substantial bulk by munching solely on seagrass and algae, so they need to eat near constantly to keep going.
- There are three species of manatee The African manatee measures about three and a half metres, and frequents rivers and deltas along the west coast of Africa, from Mauritania all the way down to Angola The Amazonian manatee lives – spoiler alert – in the freshwater channels of the Amazon basin, ranging from the foothills of the Andes to the Brazilian jungle.
- The West Indian manatee is the best known, and, though it is perhaps most common in Florida, also traverses the Caribbean from the Bahamas to the South American coast – and has two sub-species.