A Major threat to Manatees


Selah Kearby

Florida Manatees are one of the most lovable creatures in not only the Caribbean Seas but all around the globe. These large aquatic animals are however facing a massive threat to their population. As winter continues to grow colder and colder, manatees are starting to see negative effects. Manatees can only withstand water temperatures that are above 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and when the temperatures drop manatees start to suffer from Cold-Stress Syndrome. This syndrome causes symptoms such as weight loss, fat loss, dehydration, and other health problems that can kill them weeks later. However, big manatees are not the only ones being affected since Juvenile manatees are especially at risk. The cold causes a problem year after year, but the problem with manatee starvation poses a much larger threat. Along the Indian river lagoon, decades of pollution from farm fertilizers and residential developments have started to kill off manatees in mass numbers. Manatees main food source is an undersea plant known as Seagrass, this seagrass is being strongly affected by these chemicals which causes mass starvation in manatees and other animals who depend upon seagrass. Last November the executive director of ‘Save the Manatee Club, Patrick Rose, Warned that this upcoming winter could be catastrophic for these animals. Rose enlightens “ Manatees are going to have to make a horrible life or death choice—between dying sooner by having to go out in the cold or staying warm and starving”. Knowing this news, experts in the field prepared themselves for this outcome, they have been rescuing as many manatees as possible in order to try to restore the population back to normal. But sadly there’s not much they can do for the cold temperatures affecting manatees, however, many Manatee conservation groups have started campaigns to end toxic fertilization around the areas where manatees live. What will you do to help the manatee population?