Threat to Manatees Even Higher

We’ve only just begun to see the devastation wrought by the Gulf oil tragedy. Dead sea birds are the first round of images that crack open hearts. Under water, the affects are going to be insurmountable for at least a generation probably several generations, of sea life. Sea turtles will miss an entire breeding cycle. Fish and shrimp and other marine wildlife will be wiped out. One of my favorite marine mammals, with which I’ve had the joy of working/seeing and the pleasure to advocate for their protection, is the manatee.

The uncommonly cold winter already took a vicious toll on the manatees that congregate around the Florida Gulf coast…and now the oil in the waters may prevent them from getting to the fresh water springs they need to survive. For such hearty-looking animals, manatees are remarkably fragile and cannot tolerate diverse conditions. They need very specific environments to survive, much less thrive…and like every other life form, an oil-filled body of water is not the ideal.

“This year is off to a very bad start for manatees,” says Save the Manatee Club’s Executive Director, Patrick Rose.  “Florida’s harsh winter took a huge toll on them.  Now they are facing the worst oil spill in America’s history.  The spill couldn’t have come at a worse time for manatees because they are widely dispersed now and can be found along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida – in the very areas that could be most affected.”

Consider adopting a manatee, volunteering with this great charitable organization, or giving your support in other ways. We’re all going to have to give to the Gulf, and not just this summer season, but for a long time to come as the earth tries, in spite of our mismanagement, to heal.


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