When you think of manatees, you probably think of the happy ones you see at the aquarium or if you’re lucky, the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach.
For many conservation groups, they see a different brutal side.
They find them washed up and injured. Some dead and boaters are a big reason why.
Jamal Galves with Sea to Shore Alliance posted a video on his Facebook page of a manatee that had been killed by a boat strike.
Sea to Shore Alliance works to improve the health and productivity of coastal environments for the endangered species and human livelihoods that depend on them, through research, education, and conservation,
We want to warn you, some of the video is graphic.
You can see the manatee washed near a shore and has at least 5 lacerations on its body made by propeller blades.
” Numerous lacerations. The plea continues, it won't stop. The plea continues to be alert, be aware,” says Jamal in the video.
In 2016, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission counted a record number of 105 watercraft deaths.
Dr. James Powell is the Executive Director with Sea to Shore Alliance.
He not only worries for the Manatees getting killed but also the ones getting injured.
“Can you imagine what it would be like if someone slashed you up once a year or hit you with a car and didn't kill you. Especially the females trying to have babies,” says Dr. Powell.
Tish Standhope kayaks often. She's seen this firsthand manatees with multiple cuts on their bodies.
“You could see where it had happened in the past. There was scarring,” says Standhope. “It's sad. We need to be mindful when we're boating or doing anything in the water.”
Recently, Manatees were reclassified from endangered to Threatened since the population is increasing but many advocate groups fear special protections like restricting the speed for boaters will be taken away,
“If these local protections begin to disappear because it's easier for local politicians to react to fisherman that want to go faster, than that could be chipping away at all the protections that have allowed manatee populations to increase,” says Dr.Powell.
Dr. Powell says only time will tell but is still fighting for the safety of manatees.
Without it, they could be back at square one.
It's not just boat strikes. You can accidentally kill manatees in other ways. They get tangled in your fishing nets and hooks.
Also, the trash you throw away in our oceans can hurt them as well.
They also die from natural reasons such as red tides and stress from the cold.
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