The Manatee . What is a Manatee?. Large aquatic Marine Mammal Sometimes known as a sea cow The name manati comes from the Taino , a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean, meaning 'breast'. Part of the Sirenian class. Facts. Mammal
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What is a Manatee? • Large aquatic Marine Mammal • Sometimes known as a sea cow • The name manati comes from the Taino, a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean, meaning 'breast'
Facts • Mammal • They are nicknamed “sea cows” because they eat different types of sea grass • Closest living relatives are the elephant, aardvark, and hyrax • Travel 40-50 miles a day
Size of a Manatee • Average 9 to 10 feet long, weighing around 1,000 lbs • Can grow as large as 13 feet and weigh more than 3,000 lbs • Calves are born weighing about 40 lbs, gaining about 700 lbs. during their first year
West Indian West African Amazonian • There are three main types of manatees; West Indian, West African, and Amazonian. • The West Indian Manatee is broken into two groups: The Florida manatee and the Antillean manatee.
Location • The location of the Manatee depends on what type of manatee it is. • West African manatees live along the coast of West Africa and in their rivers • Amazonian manatee is the only freshwater manatee. They live in rivers, lakes, and canals of the Amazon river. • The Florida manatee lives along the coast of the Southeastern part of the United States • The Antillean lives in the costal shallow waters of the Caribbean
US Locations • Manatees are a migratory species • Concentrated in Florida in the winter, but can be found in summer months as far west as Alabama and as far north as Virginia and the Carolinas. • Can also be found in the coastal and inland waterways of Central America and along the northern coast of South America
Habitat and Food • Manatees are found in coastal waterways, estuaries, salt water bays, rivers and canals • Manatees are completely herbivorous and can eat 10-15% of their bodyweight daily • In captivity they are fed lettuce and other greens, and given elephant vitamins.
Importance to Ecosystem • If manatees are healthy it shows us that the ecosystem is probably healthy. • They repeatedly return to the same beds of sea grass and graze. • They feed on the edges of sea grass beds, and they remember where these food sources are when they move from spot to spot.
Manatees importance to the ecosystem • Manatees feces nourish many plants in the ecosystem. • They also eat 60 different types of water plants in the ecosystem. • They continue to come back to the same place to graze
Dungeons & Manatees • Manatees are herbivores that live off of the sea grasses. • They are found mostly in Florida waters and Dungeons in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. • They are slow swimmers and prefer grazing in quiet, shallow areas. Photo: MA 2002
What is seagrass? • The only true flowering plants that can live completely underwater! • Possess true roots, stems and leaves • Require certain physical conditions to grow • Provide food and habitat for many creatures. • Main diet of juvenile sea turtles, manatees, crabs, shrimp, and a variety of juvenile fishes.
Seagrass Community Food Chain Manatee
Seagrass Beds as Nurseries • Seagrass ecosystems host a rich diversity of species, including threatened and commercially important species: • Manatees • Seahorses • Conch • Grouper • Sea turtles • Snapper • Shrimp • Blue crabs • Scallops • What other species rely on the seagrass beds?
Manatees • Calves nurse for 2 years and reach maturity between 9 and 17 years. • They are also called ‘sea cows’ as they graze on sea grasses. • They are slow moving and have few defenses from predators. • Manatees can stay underwater for up to 20 minutes. • Their nostrils are covered by flaps that close during dives. • The female gives birth under water at 3 to 7 year intervals. Photos: M. Anderson, 2008
Threats manatees with boat propeller scars • Water pollution poses a large threat to Manatees • Sewage and waste pollute the water they swim in • They choke on fishhooks and trash that has been thrown into the water. • Fishing boats are another large cause of death for manatees • In Florida ¼ of manatee deaths are caused by motor boats Diane
Threats continued.. • Bodies of water are being drained to build buildings and houses result in taking away the manatees home • In places where there is a lot of famine manatees are often hunted for food • In certain parts of Africa hunting manatees is a traditional custom
More Anthropogenic Threats • They are often struck with boats or slashed with propellers. • They occasionally ingest fishing gear while feeding. • They are crushed in water control structures. • They are killed from entanglement in fishing gear. • They are vulnerable to red tides—blooms of algae which leach oxygen from the water.
Saving the Manatees • Currently the Amazonian and West Indian manatees are listed as endangered. • The West African manatee is listed as threatened • There are laws against killing manatees in 49 countries but many countries do not have money to enforce them.
Fla. Laws that Protect Manatees • Manatees in Florida are protected by both state and federal laws. • They are protected by two federal laws: The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and • The Endangered Species Act of 1973. • Manatees are also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978.
Manatee Recovery Plan • Florida has developed the Manatee Recovery Plan • It is a list of things that the government can do help keep manatees safe and alive. • Lists include setting and enforcing boat speed zones and teaching people about manatees. • Florida has also created parks like Blue Spring State Park and Crystal River National Wildlife Park, where boating is illegal making it a safe refuge for manatees’. • As a result manatee populations in Blue Springs and Crystal lake has increased.
Protecting the ManateeWhat is being done? • The development of site-specific boat speed zones for manatee protection • The implementation of management plans • posting of regulatory speed signs • Fines for excessive speed in designated areas • Creation of sanctuaries, manatee research • Education and public awareness programs.
Manatee’s Significance to Humans • Historically, manatees have provided humans with meat for food and bones and hides for tools, implements, and leather. • As of 2003, while manatees are protected range-wide, they are still hunted for food in many areas.
Ecological importance: • Manatees benefit humans indirectly by recycling nutrients in sea grass beds, keeping the vegetation in a constantly regenerating state and maintaining habitat for fish and invertebrates used by humans • In some regions, especially in Florida, the manatee is the basis for ecotourism.
Citations • Pictures • Manatees By Sally M. Walker • Georgia Wildlife- http://georgiawildlife.dnr.state.ga.us/content/displaycontent.asp?txtDocument=208&txtPage=5 • Diane- http://www.flickr.com/people/flkrakr/ • http://funkman.org/animal/mammal/manatee.jpg • Sea Pics- htpp://www.Seapics.com • http://seapics.com/assets/pictures/001975-450-Amazonian-manatee.jpg • Florida State Parks- http://www.floridastateparks.org/bluespring/Photos-Park.cfm • Information • Manatees By Sally M. Walker • I Love India- http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-manatee-1696.html • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service- http://ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/SpeciesReport.do • http://www.nrca.org/yourenv/biodiversity/Species/gifs/manatee.jpg • http://thegreenman.net.au/mt/archives/Manatee.gif • http://www.homesafe.com/manatee/manatee-facts.html • http://www.cryptomundo.com/wp-content/uploads/manatee.gif • http://www.freewebs.com/manateeluvr/manatee-3.jpg • http://www.theoceanadventure.com/FMIE/FM18.html • http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Manatee • http://www.savethemanatee.org/faqprotection.htm • http://www.answers.com/topic/manatee