FLORIDA’S SWEET­HEART

10 Things You Should Know

Where Orlando - - Where Now -

1 The West In­dian man­a­tee has flip­pers, a pad­dles-haped tail, a whiskered face and gray, leath­ery skin like an ele­phant’s. 2 Florida man­a­tees can grow to be 10 feet long and up to 1,200 pounds—all on a veg­e­tar­ian

diet.

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Man­a­tees are thought to have been around for 45-mil­lion years. 4 Man­a­tees are mam­mals. The mother, or cow, will nurse her calf for one to two years and their bond is very strong. 5 Pi­o­neers in the late 1800s killed man­a­tees for their fat and meat, and they were hunted again dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion when there was a short­age of other

food sources. 6 State and na­tional pro­tec­tion laws went into place when the pop­u­la­tion dwin­dled, and num­bers have been steadily ris­ing over the past sev­eral

decades. 7 Man­a­tees face many threats in the wild, from fast­mov­ing mo­tor­boats and en­tan­gle­ment to nat­u­ral causes like redtide and cold weather stress. 8 To help the man­a­tees, vis­i­tors should

abide lo­cal laws, keep their dis­tance and re­frain from feed­ing them. 9 Vis­i­tors can also help by clean­ing up wa­ter­ways. Man­a­tees of­ten get tan­gled in strong

fish­ing line.

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An­i­mal lovers may also con­sider mak­ing a do­na­tion

to the Save the Man­a­tee pro­gram at savethe­m­ana

tees.org

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