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Published by Thelma Blandon, 2019-12-10 15:47:00

The life of a manatee

Book for kids

The life of a manatee

Jorge Sacasa

Manatees are one magnificent animal. They are large mammals with egg-shaped
head flippers and a flat tail, they are 8 to 13 feet large and weigh 440 to 1300
pounds, they can be submerged for 20 minutes, and they have great hearing too.
Manatees are also called sea cows.

This animals can be found in the US, specially in Florida in the winter. In
summer months, they can be found in Texas and Massachusetts but they are
more commonly found in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, this animals
can migrate as far south as Cuba, the temperature of their waters are warm and

The manatees are herbivores and the bottlenose dolphin is a secondary
consumer. Great reef sharks are the tertiary consumers. Manatees eat more than
60 species of plants; some animals that interact in the environment with the
manatee are the clawed lobster, sea lion, bottlenose dolphin, and the scary gray
reef shark.

Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays,
canals, and coastal areas particularly where seagrass beds or freshwater
vegetation flourish.

Unfortunately, manatees have to face many threats, including collisions with boats,
habitat loss and degradation, fishing gear entanglement, human harassment, red
tides and other algal blooms, and climate change. The greatest long-term threat is
the loss of warm water habitat.

As new buildings are built along waterways, and people are throwing trash, natural
nesting areas are destroyed. Different substances enters the water and causes
bloom of toxic algae this can kill manatees if they eat it.

Because manatees feed on seagrass, and sea grass needs sunlight and shallow
water to grow, manatees spend most of their time in shallow water. This often
leaves them with little room to dive away from oncoming boats, which can lead to
deadly collisions.

All of the problems that were killing the manatees were product of the humans,
because of all the activities near the manatees habitat humans started to destroy
it, by contaminating the algae and not caring much.

Fortunately, people have realize the damage they have done to the manatees and
some organizations like save the manatee, Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation
Center, and even the US government have been protecting them and helping its
population to grow.

Today, the population is estimated to be at least 13,000 manatees, with more than
6,500 in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico. In 1991, there were an
estimated 1,267 manatees in Florida. Today there are more than 6,300 in Florida,
representing a significant change over the years.

1991 2019


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