Manatees - Learn More - 4Ocean

#4Manatees


manatee

Manatees are gentle and passive mammals who live in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas. Unfortunately, manatees and their habitats are under serious threat from ocean pollution and other human activities. It’s up to us to help protect these peaceful, loveable animals and aid the recovery of their population and habitats around the world.

Plastic ingestion is a common cause of death for manatees

Manatees are curious creatures that use their mouths and flippers to explore their environment. Anything that gets stuck in seagrass beds or other vegetation, including plastic bags, balloons, and fish hooks, can be ingested. Monofilament fishing line is a particular hazard. Manatees’ intestines are over 100 feet long (!!!) and plastic is simply unable to pass through their digestive tract.

Entanglement also causes declines in manatee populations

Manatees can easily become entangled in anchor lines, crab trap buoys, and abandoned fishing gear. Entangled manatees drown if they get stuck below the surface. Even if they have access to air or are rescued in time, it’s still possible for them to seriously damage themselves. Some manatees have lost flippers this way.

Habitat loss degrades manatees’ food supply

Manatees are herbivores who love to munch on seagrass, mangrove leaves, certain kinds of algae, and other water plants. They spend up to eight hours a day foraging and eat as much as 10% of their body weight in water veggies every day. Water pollution, plastic pollution, herbicides, dredge and fill projects, and surface runoff have all contributed to the degradation and loss of many of the seagrass meadows and freshwater grass beds that manatees rely on for survival.

Fewer warm-water habitats mean more manatee deaths

Manatees are able to move freely between fresh, salt, and brackish waters, but they don’t tolerate cold water temperatures so well. While they look chubby and well insulated, they actually have very little fat and can experience cold stress when water temperatures fall below 68℉. Cold stress can be fatal.

Manatees rely on natural warm springs to help regulate their body temperature during cold seasons, but residential development has limited their access. Up to two thirds of the manatee population have come to rely on warm-water outfalls from electric power plants instead. However, aging plants are often closed or experience equipment failure. With fewer safe havens where they can avoid colder temperatures, manatees are at a higher risk for cold stress.


Watercraft collisions are also a serious threat to manatees

With no natural predators, manatees’ curious and friendly nature often drives them to investigate what other animals would hide from, including boats and people. While these characteristics have earned them cute nicknames like “floaty potatoes” and “roly polies,” it often means a higher number of injuries and deaths.

  • Manatees are mammals, so they need to come to the surface to breathe, which they do every 3 to 5 minutes
  • Manatees are often spotted in areas with lots of tourism
  • Buoyant and slow, manatees swim at a leisurely pace of 3 to 5 miles per hour
  • At that pace, manatees can’t swim or dive fast enough to avoid boats and watercrafts
  • Manatees lucky enough to survive boat strikes (many don’t) are covered in scars caused by hits from propellers and boat hulls
Harassment by humans can cause detrimental changes in manatee behavior

Manatees are both cute and friendly, but it’s best for us to love these sweet creatures from afar. All of these activities are illegal because they can cause changes in manatees’ natural behaviors that harm them or put them in harm’s way.

  • Never offer manatees freshwater or snacks, which can train them to hang out around docks and marinas where there’s a higher risk of deadly boat strikes
  • Never touch manatees (unless they touch you first, and then it’s always one hand only)
  • Never hug, jump or stand on, poke, prod, chase, disturb, or attempt to ride manatees
  • Never separate a mother from her calf; her baby can’t survive without her

We’re working with Save The Manatee® Club to support manatee recovery

This month, we’re partnering with Save The Manatee® Club to support manatee recovery by increasing public awareness, sponsoring research, and advocating for strong protection measures globally.

By purchasing a Limited Edition Manatee Bracelet, you’ll remove one pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines and support manatee recovery efforts.

This bracelet represents your support.
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In partnership with
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  • Represents the 1 pound of trash that you removed.
  • Beads are 100% recycled glass.
  • Cord is 100% recycled polyester.
  • GRS Icon
  • Made from recycled materials.
  • Unisex design.
  • Adjustable from 2-5" in diameter.
  • 100% waterproof.

  • Represents the 1 pound of trash that you removed.
  • Beads are 100% recycled glass.
  • Cord is 100% recycled polyester.
  • Made from recycled materials.
  • GRS Icon


By purchasing this bracelet, you will remove one pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines as well as help save manatees.


BUY A BRACELET - PULL A POUND
Minimum donation of $10,000 to Save The Manatee® Club based on net profits from the sale of the Manatee Bracelet during 2018.