Manatee Appreciation Day is March 28th, but in Margaritaville we appreciate these gentle loving sea critters all year long. Case in point, Jimmy Buffett is the co-founder of Save the Manatee Club where the mission is to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat for future generations.
On the club’s website you’ll find an abundance of manatee facts and up to the minute data, a webcam to watch some of the friendly sea critters and information on how you can adopt one of these big guys or gals.
Manatees are a sight to see. Whenever possible skip the lines at the aquarium and head out in the wild to view the creatures in their natural habitat. Manatees prefer water that is 3-7 feet deep, making them easy to spot. Remember to look but please don’t touch.
Like many of us do, or dream to do at least, Manatees flock to Florida in the winter, and slowly migrate up the coast and through the gulf when the weather warms. Luckily, adult Manatees have no natural enemies and may live up to 60 years, but, unfortunately, water pollution and boating are potentially harmful to these marine mammals, so it’s up to us to help keep their waters safe. Good news though! In 1991, it was estimated the Florida Manatee population was 1,267 and today… the estimated Florida Manatee “club” is 6,300. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a reclassification of Manatees from endangered to threatened.
And to fully arm you for this holiday, here are some fun facts to show your knowledge and spread awareness about this remarkable mammal:
Did you know:
- The Manatee’s closest relative is not a sea creature at all, but rather an elephant, and they’re one of the few mammals of the sea.
- Manatees average about 10 feet long and 1,000 lbs.
- Despite not having external ears, Manatees can hear very well.
Manatees and Music:
- Tom Petty’s song ‘Crystal River’ is no doubt inspired by the self-proclaimed Manatee Capital of the World Crystal River, FL.
- Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band mention a manatee on ‘Growing Older But Not Up”.
- Steely Dan references chillin’ at the Manatee Bar on the track ‘Blues Beach’.
Healthy ocean ecosystems depend on Manatees and we can all make a difference, big or small. Searching for a way to help? Here are a few tips:
- For boaters in Florida, download the Manatee Alert mobile app.
- Move slowly in shallow waters.
- Stay informed. You may sign up to be in the know on Manatee happenings here: https://www.savethemanatee.org/
- Spread the word. Public awareness of endangered species is important for their survival. Florida celebrates National Manatee Awareness Month in November.