November is Manatee Awareness Month. Did you know…?
*West Indian Manatees are large, grey aquatic animals with bodies that taper to a flat, paddle-shaped tail
*The manatees closest relatives are the elephant and the hyrax (a small gopher-sized mammal)
*The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs between 800 and 1,200 pounds
*Manatees are vegetarians
*Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas
Now is a critical time for manatees, as the US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently moving forward on a status review for the West Indian manatee to reclassify the species, including its subspecies, the Florida manatee and Antillean manatee, from endangered to threatened. While the population has increased, it is in no way out of harm’s way. Hundreds of manatees have died in recent years in the ailing Indian River Lagoon. Others continue to be victims of watercraft collisions and cold stress.