Imagine if you had to go out in the snow without a warm jacket, then walk to the grocery store each time you were hungry. You’d be racing home as fast as possible to get warm. You’d also wish there was a grocery store really close to your home.
You can protect manatees by protecting their watery home. Manatees need to sleep in Florida’s warm springs in the wintertime. The rivers are too cold. That means manatees need to be able to feed on healthy aquatic vegetation as close to home as possible. When food is not available near the warm springs, they have to make a long, difficult and cold swim to the Gulf of Mexico to find food. It uses a lot of energy and they need to eat enough to enable them to swim back to the warm water for shelter. Some manatees don’t survive the journey and die of cold stress. Preserving their habitat and healthy aquatic vegetation is critical. Local residents need to stop using chemicals and fertilizers in their yards. Planting native vegetation on river banks is also important. Marsh plants filter the water and support a healthy aquatic community.
“He’s been talking about Chester and calling Everything a manatee all day. And we were able to talk about littering and recycling. Thank you!” – M. DeMarco