WEST INDIAN MANATEE FACT SHEET
Everybody has an opinion about Manatees.
Here are the facts:
- POPULATION: highly endangered
- REPRODUCTION: mature at approximately 5 years of age; gestation
approximately 13 months; one calf born every 2-3 years; cows
nurse calves up to 2 years.
- PROBLEMS: boat/barge collisions; habitat loss; crushing/drowning
in flood gates and canal locks; cold- related illnesses; ingestion
of fish hooks and monofilament line; entanglement in crab trap
lines and fishing trawl nets; pollution.
- PROTECTION: violators of state and federal laws protecting
manatees are subject to fines up to $20,000 and prison sentences
up to 1 year.
- BEHAVIOR: gentle and slow moving; surfaces to breathe every
3-4 minutes; spends time eating, resting, and traveling; often
shy and reclusive; has no system of defense and is completely
- HABITAT: shallow, slow-moving, rivers, estuaries; saltwater
bays; canals; coastal areas; particularly where sea grass beds
- RANGE: Winter - manatees concentrate in natural warm-water
springs of industrial power plant warm-water outfalls in Florida.
- RANGE: Summer - move widely throughout entire habitat; sometimes
swim just offshore to travel or graze; sometimes travel as far
as the lower Carolinas on the East Coast and to Louisiana on
the Gulf Coast
- FOOD: submerged (e.g. Hydrilla), emergent (e.g. Spartina),
and floating (e.g. Water-hyacinths) aquatic plants.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION WRITE:
The Marine Life Preservation Society at firstname.lastname@example.org
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