and VeggieGlobal Good-Cause Support
Protect the Manatees (and Dugongs)
- The Gentle Giants
Manatees live in river estuaries
and sheltered bays around the warmer seas off Central and
South America. These wonderfully docile mammals, which can
grow up to 13ft long, are herbivorous (vegetarian) and can
live up to 60 years.
Manatees living within US Coastal waters are protected under
law, but this harmless creature's greatest enemy is watercraft
- mainly recreational boats, which speed around manatee habitats
killing and severly maming them.
While being nonaggressive, nonterritorial, minding their own
busness and of no threat to anyone, manatees spend much of
their lives quietly resting just below the water surface.
But as boats hurtle back and forth, propellers cause horrific
carnage to the Manatees.
Other human-related causes of manatee deaths include poaching,
being crushed or drowned in locks and flood control mechanisms
as well as getting entangled in fishing traps and lines. All
this has sadly led to one of the most lovable but lesser-known
mammals of our natural world to become a critically endangered
There are now only around 3,000 manatees left.
What can you do to Help?
Outside the US, particularly
in the UK and Europe, manatee rescue gets very little public
exposure, so this Looking-Glass and VeggieGlobal support page
aims to bring this urgent issue to a global audience.
Save the Manatee Club was established
in 1981 so the public could participate in conservation efforts
to save endangered manatees from extinction. Funds from the
Adopt-A-Manatee program go toward public awareness and education
projects; manatee research; rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge
also rehabilitates manatees in the Florida area. Emerald rely
on volunteers and public donations to operate.
Other useful reading about the
Manatee crisis in the US:
Dugongs and more about
Dugongs are the closest living
relative to the manatee and are suffering similar, serious
threats through human-caused mortality. Dugongs are found
in the Indo-Pacific ocean - even as far west as the East African
coast but are mostly concentrated in northern Australian waters
and around the Great Barrier Reef.
Unlike the manatee, gugongs live permanently in salt water
rather than entering freshwater river estuaries. The greatest
threat of the dugongs survival comes from entanglement in
commercial fishing nets, shark nets (to protect populated
beaches from shark attacks) and boat strikes, including military
As with the manatees in
America dugongs are below the "sustainable
The last remaining dugongs in
Japan have been under serious threat from a American military
base that has been built on top of a coral reef.
As with the manatee, dugongs
are also called sea cows (or even mermaids and are hence collectively
known as Sirenia). A once close-relative was Steller's sea
cow, which was hunted to extinction in the 18th century. There
appears to be no direct rescue organizations available to
link to regarding dugong protection. If visitors to this site
know of any hands-on dugong rescue organizations please contact
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