March 26 – Manatee Appreciation Day

Posted on March 26, 2014

Manatees are gentle, curious, and slow-moving; they spend about half the day sleeping, submerged, coming up for air regularly, and the rest of the time grazing on mangrove leaves, turtle grass, and other plants. That means that they are hanging out near the surface or in fairly shallow water.

Gentle? Curious? Slow moving? Hanging out in warm, shallow waters, or near the surface?

All those qualities and behaviors mean trouble for the poor manatees:

  • They are, unfortunately, all too easy to kill for their meat, fat, bones, and hides. (This is still a problem for African manatees.)
  • Manatees are quite often struck by boats, ships, and propellers. They have a lifespan of about 60 years and no non-human enemies—but our watercraft can cut short those lives.
  • And like so many other creatures, manatees are in trouble because humans have destroyed so many of their habitats, so many of the estuaries and grassy shallows the creatures depend on.

If you live in Florida or other areas with manatees, or if your city has a good aquarium, you might be able to find a special Manatee Appreciation event. 

If you live elsewhere, hold your own mini-event by learning more about these gentle giants or even by donating to organizations to help protect them. 

Check out these links:

Did I mention that manatees are
mammals that nurse their young?
Here, a calf gets milk from its mom.
Also on this date:

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