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The West Indian Manatee. By Brian Shepherd. The West Indian Manatee ( Trichechus manatus latirostris ) is the aquatic relatives to the elephant. The are found only in the Caribbean and off the costs of Florida and stretching to the coast of Louisiana.

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the west indian manatee

The West Indian Manatee

By Brian Shepherd


The West Indian Manatee (Trichechusmanatuslatirostris) is the aquatic relatives to the elephant. The are found only in the Caribbean and off the costs of Florida and stretching to the coast of Louisiana.

  • Adult manatees can be up to 12 feel long and can way abou1500 lbs.
  • They spend most of their lives eating, sleeping, and traveling. They can consume up to 15% their body weight in one day.
  • A manatee can live to be 60 years old.

Manatees are herbivores and eat a variety of aquatic plants.

  • Unfortuatly most of their food is near shores and this is a problem because the shores are where most of the boat are and boating accedents are a big factor in manatee deaths.
manatees through time

Manatees were discovered in the West Indies in the 1500’s and since the finding people started hunting them for meat and oil untill they almost became extinct and Florida banded the hunting of manatees in 1893.

  • Since then the manatee population has slowly been rising but it is still endangered because it is hard for them to get their population up because they are a k-stragitist species and it takes a long time to reproduce and have young which are ready to mate as well
Manatees through time

Manatees are migrant animals and they while they spend the summer months mostly out in the deeper sea, in the winter months manatees will stay near the coast, even traveling up rivers. This is another reason why boats are a major cause of manatee death. Wildlife sanctuaries have reserved rivers and coastline for the manatees but the trouble is not all of them migrate to those places for the winter.

main causes of manatee death

Human related manatee mortalities occur from collisions with watercraft.

  • Drowning in canal locks and flood control structures.
  • Ingestion of fish hooks.
  • Entanglement in crab trap lines/fishing lines.
  • And litter and monofilament lines.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates the manatees will be extinct in the next 100 years!!!
Main Causes of Manatee Death
what s being done

Wildlife refugees for manatees have been made to give manatees a save place to spend their winter months near the coast.

  • The manatee is protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Specials Act of 1973.
  • The manatee is also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978, which states: "It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass or disturb any manatee."
What’s being done?