The Three Major Manatee Species

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The manatee or “sea cow” is considered one of the most gentle and intelligent mammals on the planet. Though mostly solitary, they have strong familial ties between mother and calf, and are playful and compassionate animals. Primarily there are three manatee species that are considered to inhabit different areas of the world, and they are, the Florida Manatee, the Amazonian Manatee, and the West African Manatee.

The West Indian Manatee, or the Florida Manatee is the most well known and has visitors from the world over coming to visit them. Florida is also a sanctuary for migrating manatees during the cold months. Manatees need to be in water that is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes the Florida Manatee is called the West Indian Manatee, but the truth is they are the same. It would seem that efforts to protect and conserve the Florida Manatee are succeeding as their numbers have grown in recent years.

The Amazonian Manatee is considered the smallest manatee found. They live only in fresh water. The Dwarf Manatee is sometimes thought to be a species mutation of the Amazonian Manatee, and also can be found only in fresh water.

The African Manatee is the most at risk manatee. Conservation efforts are very lax in that part of the world and between global warming and the actions of man, their habitat is dwindling. They live in the subtropical and tropical waters along the African coast.

Manatees are a very special part of the animal kingdom and their preservation is so important. Boaters need to be aware of them when speeding down waterways, and their numbers must be kept up. Manatees’ intelligence and compassion are much revered we all should be working towards keeping them from becoming endangered.


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