Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Manatee: Not Endangered?

Get this video and more at

It looks like the manatee may be removed from Florida's endangered list. This could be a great blow to our attempts to save the manatee, whose population continues to dwindle. There are different estimates on how many manatees left in the wild now, but it ranges between 2,200 and 3,000 with 10% lost every year. The majority of their deaths are due to the carelessness of boaters.

Yet, the Florida alligator remains a protected species! The Florida Museum of Natural History may have it right when they say that this move is apparently in the interest of Florida's boating industry (there are over a million registered boats in Florida).

But you ask, how many boaters could (in good conscience) blithely run over and mortally wound these gentle giants? The answer sadly is, too many. If it's happening even now, it will only get worse when we send the message that this dwindling species is simply not a priority any more.

If you live in Florida, and want to do something to stop this, appeal to our state legislature. To find your Florida legislators, go here. Feel free to email them a copy of this page, if it makes it easier. Go to the bottom of this post and click where you see the envelope, then follow the instructions. You can make a difference!


Scott said...

3,000 animals and they don't want to protect them... that is messed up.

That is great for you taking up the cause.


Fred said...

I was amazed when I read about this. What are they thinking?

Tabasamu said...

I agree, this is a terrible problem. I'm really sad about it. I sent your link to a couple people, I hope to spread the word! Cute video, by the way! Where DO you find these?

Saur♥Kraut said...

TC, I love manatees, and had this video tucked away for a while, believe it or not!

Fred, not much, apparently. :P

Scott, sad, isn't it?

Mr. Althouse said...

Perhaps if they would eat a person every now and then, we would label them as endangered! OMG!

I think I have room in my pool for a couple of manatees, they woold be protected there (I don't think the frogs would mind).


R2K said...

Motor boats appeal to many different types of people. But as a paddler, a person who does scuba and who snorkels, and who cares about the marine environment more than most, I find that while many people in a motor boat are serious, careful, and even professional pilots, all of the morons, jerks, drunks, and kids are drawn to motor boats as well. So to restate: not all guys in a motor boat are incompetent, dangerous, polluting, drunks, or wild kids. But all the morons out there ARE going to be found on a motor boat. I have yet to see a single person in a sail boat really be reckless, because they wouldn’t last all that long. And honestly, even if they were, they would only really hurt themselves.

You may call me too extreme, but I honestly think that motor boats should only be allowed in very specific areas. The ultra high speed, ultra loud motor boats that fly across estuaries around this country simply should be limited to normal speeds or should not be allowed in the first place. They belong in the open ocean, not in creeks and bays.

People who pilot a boat should take a test that is MORE restrictive and demanding than that for driving a car. You very well might think I am just a crazy hippy, but since most people are totally ignorant to the natural world around them, they really don’t have a chance to see the damage motor boats cause. It is like letting people ATV across a national park… oh wait, bad example.

Eddo said...

That's sad.

However, I must say that Manatee's look a lot like potatoes - really big potatoes...

I didn't realize that they were being hit so often by boaters - probably because in Texas the only thing you hit in your boat is either the bottom of the lake or a tree stump.

actonbell said...

I agree that this is sad, and incomprehensible. *sigh*

Rabbit, rabbit, anyway.

mal said...

another example of political expediency. What can we expect? We seem to have trouble with our social priorities when a 13 year old kid runs a boat over people, kills a kid and goes back to his house like nothing happened

dddragon said...

The manatees need "rabbit rabbit" luck! I hope that they don't get taken off the list - clearly the numbers are way too low.

Badoozie said...

dang dummies. you tell em saur!

Brianne said...

Manatees certainly are interesting beings! It's so sad to see they're not being protected as such.

mckay said...

i'm outraged that the manatee post does not have as many comments as the sex drive post.

seriously, though, boaters need to be more aware of what they're doing. perhaps boating licenses are in order.

Saur♥Kraut said...

McKay, it isn't as sexy. I just hope some Floridians see this and do something about it.

Brianne, they're so very sweet and trusting. They come right up to you!

Susie, yeah!

Dddragon, ain't that the truth!

Mallory, I hadn't heard of that incident!?

ActonBell, er, sorry it's such a downer. But with any luck, you'll pass on a little of your own luck to the beasties!

Eddo, but cute potatoes!

Alex, an excellent, well thought out post. I agree entirely.

Mike A, I'll pass on the word. I think you'll be getting some manatees taking you up on this. Stock up on lettuce and bananas, they're partial to them.

Reverberate58 said...

How terrible. I have seen so many of these beautiful creatures in the waters boating around and all had at least on scrape on them. So sad that money once again can be proven to be the root of evil. Wish they could find safe warm waters somewhere! So so sad!

Senor Caiman said...


This is maddening especially when you think that Dr. Latorre still boats.

I use to keep a boat at Huber Yacht until it was stolen, the manatees loved it back in there. It's a crying shame.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I own a power boat. Of course I also took the time to sit through a US Coast Guard safe boating class, and then even joined the US Coast Guard Auxillary so that I could get even MORE safe boating training for free.

Yes, the speed zones are a pain in the ass. And Biscayne Bay is pretty much one big speed zone.

But on the other hand, accidents in the speed zones are not as common as accidents in the "wide open throttle" areas. And I see more than enough boats that either do not know or do not care they are in a speed zone. Usually, the skipper looks like a big muscle bound doofus. You know, shaved head, gold chains, flashy fast boat, and so on.

Jeb Bush hates the endangered species act. Taking the alligator off is just one more step towards the effort to pave over the everglades and build more condos. Removing the Manatee will open up a bunch of rivers to condo builders. After all - if there are no protected critters the land is just swamp! There to be drained and built on - in the name of short term profit.

Jamie Dawn said...

Those big, gentle creatures are so wonderful.
I would pee my pants if I saw one if real life while I was swimming though!

The Family Guy/Ice Age link you gave me is funny. That will teach him NOT to taunt the Ice Age scrat!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Jamie Dawn, I know, I love that clip. I've always wanted to swim w/ the manatees. I've petted one, but that's another story for another time.

Lazy Iguana, ditto, ditto, ditto. I know you're a careful boater. You're unusual, though. I also knew that about your training (I've followed your blog for over a year). If everyone did what you do, we'd be a healthier place to live.

Gator, La Torre still boats???? Are you kidding? For anyone who doesn't know, Dr. William LaTorre is the St. Petersburg chiropractor who was accused of four counts of vessel homicide following a boating accident. IMHO he was guilty, but I can't remember if he got off or not (I guess he did!)

Reverb, the poor things are so sweet but not bright and very trusting. They really need to be relocated. I've seen so many wounded ones!

mckay said...

do manatees thrive in a general region? can't that region be protected?

gotta look out for those that can't defend themselves from boaters.

LZ Blogger said...

Cool Manatee vidoe. Thanks! ~ jb///

Live, Love, Laugh said...

Eddie and I were talking about you the other day. You are always up to date on the latest of everything, we come here to find out that latest news and information. Great post again!!!!

Some Random Girl said...

Where can out of state travellers call and voice their concern?

KristieD said...

there are so many more gators than manatees and there is a big hoopla about taking them off the endangered list, are these people in charge insane? Manatees are absolutely awesome creatures. I had the pleasure of growing up on a canal and got to see plenty of manatees and even interacted with a few. We would put the hose over the sea wall and they would drink the water, we would pull the sea grass off the walls and feed it to them (did you know you can stick your hand in their mouth- they dont really have teeth- but man-they need a breath mint) or take a little scrub brush and rub them with it. usually they would flip over so we could do their bellies. But there are slow animals, unable to get out of the way quick enough. Once, we hit one. We were in a no-wake zone, and even tho we had no wake and were going very slow, one attempted to surface right under our boat. We cut power and floated a bit to see if we could see if it was injured and after it resurfaced a little bit away we could see it wasnt, but it definitely drove the point home for all of us. we still could have hurt that thing even while following the rules. People need to know these animals arenot safe and continue to take all precautions to preserve these animals. I am so glad yiou posted this, i will definitely send some emails.

Ellen said...

My sons elementary school adopted several manatees (as it was their school mascot) and we were always aware of them being in danger from careless boaters. It was nice to see children take up the cause, as early education is key.
I'm glad you brought this subject up, as more people will become aware of the problems these gentle creatures face. Boo to another Bush brother for not taking this seriously!

R2K said...

My only concern is that in environmental biology, we always see people care about the cute or big animals. Whales, birds, seacows, seals, otters... But no one cares about crabs, coral, mangroves, wetlands, bugs... The environment of Florida is at most risk, and as bad as it is to say, the manatee is ecologically expendable. Not that I don’t want them to be around, but they get a disproportionate amount of attention, like whales, because people think they are cool looking.

The everglades and countless other highly valuable (ecologically, I don’t give a damn about the money) areas in Florida are being damaged. If we protect them, we could protect the manatees as well as the thousands of other plants and animals which are also important even if they are not cute herbivores.

If only 100 years ago people know how important the everglades would be, quite possibly a top 10 location in the world (among the great barrier reef, the rainforests, the pacific rain forest, the Mediterranean coast…), they would have closed it all off and made it a park. Now Florida has to pay the long term costs of development by giving something back. Not like they really need to be more exposed to flooding and hurricane damage anyway…

Dan said...

somebody should sue...

D-Dub said...

I love manatees! Especially on the grill. mmm mmm good!

D-Dub said...

I'm kidding! I joke!

I've seen the population of manatees drop and make a slow comeback.

There have been some protections offered though speed zones and no boating areas.

They should remain on the protected list until we are sure they are safe.

I'm in favor of boat proficiency testing but oppose baning boats form coastal waters.

Seeing a manatee up close is very cool. Not as cool as seeing a hammerhead shark but pretty cool.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Bruce/Batman, that depends on whether you're in the water or on a boat. I'll take the shark when I'm on a boat, thank you. ;o) You make good points, thanks!

Dan, yeah! You're an environmental attorney! Roust someone up and get this thing going!

Alex, an excellent summary. Thank you. You're completely correct. I remember when they used to fill in the wetlands here. We now have a shopping mall on top of one of them (Largo Mall).

Ellen, sadly, it's no surprise. Most Repubs are not famous for respecting the environment. :P

KristieD, thanks for sharing the experience! I've often wondered how they find an injured manatee, because it's instinct would be to swim to safety. Yet, you see many that are being rehabbed at Lowry Park Zoo(?)

SRG, I don't know. You could certainly write to Gov. Bush (but I don't know how much good that would do you). Thanks for the interest!

LLL, I try. I find so much to be interested in, that I never seem to run out material (usually).

LZ, glad you liked it!

McKay, no. They migrate, being attracted to warmer waters. So it's very hard to herd them anywhere. It goes against their natures.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Manatees are one of the favourite creatures of Marie and I.

That post made me sad.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, you have no idea how sweet and trusting they are. It is horribly sad.