Endangered Manatees are large marine mammals often referred to as sea cows and were once confused by sailors as mermaids.
These flat-tailed animals may slowly graze their water pastures like a cow, but they are actually more closely related to elephants. Just like Elephants all over the world, manatees are also an endangered species.
Sure, endangered manatees aren’t the most attractive creatures in the water, but they have a certain quality that makes you want to love them: they’re graceful, endearing, and need your help to survive in the wild.
Here are just five things you can do to help these manatees thrive.
1. If You See Something, Say Something
If you’re out along the waterways and see an injured, orphaned, entangled, distressed, or even a dead manatee, call the local wildlife alert hotline. For example, Florida has a phone number meant to help these exact situations: 888-404-3922.
While manatees are known for roaming the open sea, you might see them inland as well. Places like the Blue Spring State Park, Crystal River, the Weeki Wachee river, and other places throughout Florida attract these mammals during the colder months. Making this call could be a surefire way to directly help a manatee that’s at risk.
2. Let Your Vehicle Show Support
When it comes time to renew or register new license plates, consider purchasing special “save the manatee plates.” These plates are available in multiple states. Money spent on these plates goes towards manatee protection and research programs. You already have to pay for these plates, so why not do some good at the same time?
3. Safety First On The Waterways
When you’re out enjoying the open air on the water, it’s always a good idea to play it safe. That means you should always obey all posted waterway signs and rules. Manatee areas are often indicated on maps or are marked on the water. This often means avoiding seagrass or other shallow areas where manatees enjoy eating and resting. If you happen to see an endangered manatee, don’t try to remove any GPS or telemetry tags. These tags are used for research, health, and safety reasons.
4. Stay Active
There are various organizations and opportunities for volunteer work across the country. For example, many groups work together to help keep manatee habitats clean. This could involve cleaning shorelines, beaches, parks, and more. Even picking up bits of litter during your daily routine can make a big difference. There may also be various fundraisers or volunteer events that help fund programs. Help the great cause or even throw some money their way.
5. Spread The Word
Not everyone knows about the dangers manatees face. Sharing information about volunteer opportunities, events, or general information can help raise awareness, support, and money. Write or call members of your local government to encourage the appropriate resources to keep manatees a part of our world.