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Monday, November 8, 2010

Manatees

One of my very favorite animals is the Manatee, also known as a sea cow. Their scientific name is Trichechus manatus latirostris. These gentle giants are herbivores and are on the endangered species list with less than 3,200 individuals as of early 2002.

These aquatic mammals must surface for air every three - five minutes. The full grown adults weigh approximately 1,000 pounds and grows to a length of about 10 feet. The average female reproduces once every two - three years. This slow reproductive rate coupled with the encroachment of humans on their natural habitat threaten its survival.

Threats to the Manatee*
  1. Extensive development of coastal lands which affects manatee feeding grounds.
  2. Irresponsible recreational and commercial boating practices.
  3. Poor water quality from civic, industrial, commercial, and agricultural affluent.
  4. Alteration of wetlands for dredge and fill operations; chanalization of rivers, streams, and other changes to fresh-waterflow.
* Source: Manatee Observation and Education Center

The Columbus Zoo is one of the few manatee rehabilitation facilities in the US. The Manatee Coast Exhibit is one of the zoo's most popular. Currently, I believe the zoo has four juveniles they are rehabilitating. Most of them have scars on their back from boat propellers.

Manatee Coast
Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Fort Pierce, Florida is a popular manatee destination during the winter months, typically December - March. The manatees congregate in Moore's Creek to keep warm when surrounding waters drop below 62 degrees. The Fort Pierce Utilities Authority operates a power plant near the Manatee Observation and Education Center and uses water from Moore's creek to cool the pipes in the power plant. As the water leaves the plant and back into the creek, it is 7 degrees warmer than the surrounding water. When the weather becomes warmer, the manatees travel out of the creek and will visit the rest of the year to drink fresh water.

On my latest trip to Fort Pierce, we were down at the marina for the farmers market when Melanie spotted a pod of manatees. This was so exciting for me and I tried to get some good shots of them when they surfaced.

Fort Pierce, Florida

Please visit the Manatee Observation and Education Center for ways you can help these wonderful creatures.

Please join me at Mosaic Monday, Blue Monday, Outdoor Wednesdays, and Watery Wednesdays.

23 comments:

  1. How delightful! thankyou for sharing :D

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  2. What a neat idea to have a Farmer's Market at thye3 marina....that's a new one on me. Love your manatees...up here all we see on our coast is porpoises...but they are great, too. Hope you have a nice warm week...we are FREEZING up here. I miss Florida!!!!!!

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  3. We went to Blue Springs in Deland, Florida nad could see them up close and personal. What beautiful creatures. That was fun.

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  4. I see quite a bit of beautiful blues, La.

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  5. Those are quite interesting...we don't have those here in the Pacific Ocean...maybe it's too cold...we do have lots of dolphins though. It is finally cooling off here...what a relief! I love the mumkins too...great idea!

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  6. Hi La,
    this was very interesting. I didn't know that the Manatees are threaten. You showed us wonderful photos. How exiting to see them wild living in the sea. Thank you for this interesting post.
    Greetings, Johanna

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  7. This was very interesting to read, La.
    I was aware that Manatees are endangered as when my children were in junior high school they were part of a special science study group that learned about them, and other sea mammals, in conjunction with a program lead by NY Aquarium marine scientists.
    I hope they can be saved! I'll check out the link you provided.

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  8. That must of been quite amazing to see. It's so sad what is happening to these animals. And so many more. My husband is a HUGE shark enthusiast so we are also involved with the Ocean Conservancy. Thanks for stopping by my blog so often and leaving me your sweet comments. They always make my day! :)

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  9. Gee, now I know what I'm called!!! :)

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  10. I think manatees are sooooo cute! I saw them in Florida -- not in a natural state, but it's their faces that makes them so cute. I think they eat veggies too. Joni

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  11. Manatees are truly such amazing creatures. We used to look forward to seeing them every summer when we went to Captiva Island, Florida. They seem like such gentle beasts.

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  12. Awww, I miss them. We use to call them sea cows. I'm glad to have landed here in your blog. Please check out My Blue Monday post here Thanks!

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  13. Manatees are such interesting creatures. I have watched them most of my life...in the coves, rivers, and springs around here. At Blue Springs, there are often so many that you could actually walk across their backs...if they would allow you to try.
    Jane (Artfully Graced)

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  14. La, I adore Manatees! And these are wonderful. Great shots!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  15. How exciting to have seen so many! Thanks for sharing their plight.

    Visiting from Susan's Outdoor Wednesday party. Also just joined as a follower.

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage
    http://thebrambleberrycottage.blogspot.com

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  16. marvelous series of photos. my friend who used to work for WWF introduced me to this amazing sea creature. great info!

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  17. One of my friends used to swim with the manatees when she lived in FLorida. Wonderful creatures.

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  18. I love looking at them too whenever I am at a theme park I make sure I linger and keep them company.

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  19. We canoed once in a river with manatees. They don't do much but it was great to see these gentle but endanged creatures in their native habitat.

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  20. They are such wonderful creatures! And how exciting to have spotted a pod in the marina! Thanks for sharing your images at MM. :)

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  21. blue whale and blue sea are beautiful!


    http://itistimetothinkformyself.blogspot.com/2010/11/november-greetings-appreciations.html

    awards for you. Happy Thanksgiving! xx

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See you soon! La