Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Amazonian manatee

I fell in love with manatees a long, long time ago on a family holiday to Florida. They're not the most glamorous or adorable of animals but there's something about these big gentle creatures that just fascinates me. Fun fact- although they are fully aquatic, manatees are more closely related to elephants than they are to other marine mammals like whales and dolphins.

Amazonian manatee (the ones in the photo- you can tell them apart from the other two manatee species by the white splashes of colour across their bodies) have a conservation status classified as Vulnerable due to the continuing reduction in their population numbers. One of the problems with these manatees is that the cloudy, vegetation-heavy waters of the Amazon make them difficult to spot and a large proportion of their territory is challenging for conservationists to reach, so there are no accurate numbers of how many animals there actually are. Sadly manatee numbers continue to decline as they fall prey to illegal hunting, accidental capture in nets and the destruction and degradation of their habitat.

This little guy is for sale here and by weird coincidence, today is actually Manatee Appreciation Day so I'm going to spend some time just, you know, appreciating manatees. I'd like to hug one cause they look very huggable, but it's not really a good idea to hug wild animals so I'll just google some pictures of them and 'aww' to myself instead!

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