Research and Protect Manatees
Manatees are gentle, slow-moving marine mammals whose time may be running out. Since record-keeping began in 1974, more than 1,750 manatees have been killed by boaters alone, and that doesn't include numerous other human-related causes. That leaves just a few thousand manatees left in the wild.
A manatee's natural lifespan is about 60 years, but recent research has found that most manatees today die before they are 10 years old. Almost all manatees have been scarred by encounters with propellers, and the number of deaths has been increasing annually over the past several years.
West Indian manatees in the United States are protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which make it illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. West Indian manatees are also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. But unless strong actions are taken to limit motorized boats and development in coastal areas, this species of marine mammal is not expected to recover within 100 years.
Several organizations and researchers are working to help manatees survive by studying their needs and assessing what must be done to save them. By spending your next vacation helping to study and protect manatees, you can do your part to give these gentle giants a lasting future.
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