Manatee: The Real Gentle Giant Draft #2

This topic submitted by Nathan Snedeker ( at 8:13 PM on 5/11/06.

An octopus tries to hide on a sunny day at the Grotto, San Salvador, Bahamas.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Although their numbers appear to be on the rise, manatees are still considered an endangered species. Humans are the number one threat they face but are also their best ally. The intention of this paper is to provide information on the biology of manatees as well as the many conservation efforts that are put forth both locally and internationally. Also, information will be provided on how people involved in the audience of this of paper and presentation can offer assistance.

I. What is a manatee?
A. Common names for types of manatees
1. Florida Manatee
2. West Indian Manatee
3. Amazon Manatee
4. West African Manatee
B. Relatives
1. Elephant
2. Hyrax
C. Physical Appearance
1. Paddle-like tail
2. 2 short front appendages with 3-4 fingernails
3. Whiskers and snout with 2 nostrils
4. Gray to brown skin sometimes with algae growing on it
II. Habitats
A. Depends on type
1. Florida, Caribbean, Central-America, South-America, Amazon, West Africa
B. Rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas
C. 70 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
D. Fresh vs salt water
E. Particular food areas
F. Reserves
III. Humans
A. Boats
B. Effects on food sources
C. Influences on migration
D. Pollution
E. Fishing nets
F. Refuges and influence of nuclear power plants
G. Interaction in “Swim with manatee” programs
IV. Conservation Efforts
A. Project ŮLightHawkÓ
B. Tracking
C. Everglades
D. Legislation
E. International Awareness

Abellera, Bonnie J. (ed). (2003 April-June). Manatee Conservation: Meeting the Challenge. Manatee News Quarterly, Vol 7, Issue 2, 1-12

Bavaria, J., & Merediz, G. (Spring 2003). Lighthawk: Focus Mesoamerica.

Save the Manatee Club

Sirenian International

WildLIFE - Hometown Happenings: “A Manatee’s Best Friend”

US Fish and Wildlife Service: North Florida Field Office

USGS INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS: Manatee Conservation in Belize

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