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Help Save Manatees from Extinction

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Manatees are facing a number of serious threats that could lead to their extinction. Help protect these amazing animals!


The manatee, also known as the sea cow, is a gentle marine mammal that inhabits the waters of Florida and the Caribbean. These creatures have been around for millions of years, but today they are facing a number of serious threats that could lead to their extinction1.

One of the biggest threats to manatees is habitat loss. The construction of dams, canals, and other water-control structures has fragmented and destroyed their natural habitats, making it difficult for them to find food and shelter2. In addition, the pollution of rivers and coastal waters has made it difficult for manatees to find clean water to drink3.

In 2021, 1,110 manatees (about 15% of the population) passed away, making it the deadliest year on record. Most of these deaths occurred due to starvation4.

A large power plant in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) of Florida provides warm waters during the winter months5. Nearly one-third of Florida Manatees seek out these warm waters every winter, but the IRL has lost 60% of its seagrass beds due to harmful algal blooms and poor water quality, leaving manatees to starve. Work is in progress to replant seagrass beds and provide supplemental feeding, but more must be done to respond to this crisis if the manatee is to survive.

Another major threat to manatees is boat strikes. Every year, hundreds of manatees are killed or injured by boats and personal watercraft6. These injuries can be fatal, and even those that survive often suffer from permanent damage. To reduce the number of boat strikes, it is important for boaters to be aware of the presence of manatees and to obey posted speed limits in areas where manatees are known to congregate.

Red tides, caused by high concentrations of toxic algae, also pose a serious threat to manatees7. These toxins can cause respiratory problems and even death, and red tides have been known to kill large numbers of manatees in a short period of time.

To help protect manatees, conservation efforts are underway to preserve and restore their habitats, and to educate boaters and the general public about the importance of respecting and protecting these gentle creatures. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the Florida manatee as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, and the species is also protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 19728.

Manatees are facing a number of serious threats that could lead to their extinction. It is crucial that we take action now to protect these gentle marine mammals and their habitats.

By working together and taking small actions, we can make a big impact in saving the manatees for future generations. Sign the pledge to save manatees.

Take the pledge to protect manatees and protect these animals for future generations!

More on this issue:

  1. Erin Spencer, Ocean Conservancy (5 November 2019), "3 Threats Facing Manatees Today."
  2. Patrick Rose, Save the Manatee Club (30 March 2016), "Threats To Manatees And Habitat On The Rise: Help Protect Their Future."
  3. Fight For Zero, "Protecting Starving Florida Manatees from Polluted Waterways."
  4. Li Cohen, CBS News (7 January 2022), "Record number of Florida manatees starved to death in 2021."
  5. Florida State Parks, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (2023), "Ecology Of The Indian River Lagoon."
  6. Sarah Gledhill, The Center for Biological Diversity (30 December 2020), "593 Florida Manatees Died in 2020, Including At Least 90 From Boat Strikes."
  7. Jenny Howard, National Geographic (5 July 2019), "Red tides, explained."
  8. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "Manatee."
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The Pledge:

Manatees have been around for millions of years, but they are facing a number of serious threats that could lead to their extinction before the end of this century.

As such, I pledge to take the following steps to help save the manatee for future generations:

  1. Reduce boat speed in manatee habitats: One of the biggest threats to manatees is boat strikes. By reducing speed in areas where manatees are known to congregate, boaters can help to reduce the number of boat strikes and protect these gentle creatures.
  2. Report injured or dead manatees: If I spot an injured or dead manatee, I will report it to the local authorities. This will help to monitor the population of manatees and make sure that they are getting the protection they need.
  3. Be mindful of water pollution: Water pollution can harm manatees and their habitat. I pledge to be mindful of the products I use and how they may contribute to water pollution, and support efforts to clean up and protect bodies of water in manatee habitats.
  4. Spread awareness: I pledge to share information about the plight of the manatee with friends, family, and local community members. The more people who know about the challenges facing manatees, the more people who will be willing to help protect them.
  5. Support conservation efforts: I pledge to support organizations that are working to protect and preserve manatee habitats, like Greater Good Charities and Project Peril, which, thanks to donations, donated 14,000 pounds of produce to feed starving orphan manatee calves off the coast of Florida in 2022. Donations to Project Peril, a program of Greater Good Charities, support its work in purchasing produce, especially leafy greens, for manatees recovering from malnutrition.

Manatees are facing a number of serious threats that could lead to their extinction. I pledge to take action now to protect these gentle marine mammals and their habitats.

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