M is for Manatee
Manatees are large, aquatic, bulbous, grey, whiskered, flippered, intelligent creatures that live in rivers, estuaries, bays, canals and coastal areas. They are slow-moving and also like to live in slow-moving water, where they rest and travel to find the sea grasses and other underwater vegetation they like to eat.
They are the only totally herbivorous sea mammal. Although they do occasionally eat fish by accident in with their grasses etc.
There is a West Indian manatee, a West African manatee, and an Amazonian manatee, all of whom are related to the Dugong.
Manatees are migrational, needing warm water, and many West Indian manatees migrate into rivers in Florida in the USA. Here, as in many areas, they are extremely vulnerable to injury from watercraft. There is not a manatee without scars, some have up to 50, and many live their whole lives with appalling disfigurement.
They swim up to divers and hunters as they are curious and friendly, which does not help them!
They are all endangered with extinction – their main threat being human.
They are not the most prepossessing of animals. If they were fluffy perhaps their plight would be more widely talked of. But I think they are gorgeous, full of character, and deserve the ability to swim in their water without risking life and flipper.
If you’d like to read more about the manatee, you can do so here: Wikipedia.
If you’d like to Blog Hop to another A-Z Challenge blog, you can do so here: A-Z Challenge.
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