Well known for their gentle, slow-moving nature, manatees take up residence primarily in Florida’s coastal waters during winter and migrate either as far north as the Carolinas or as far west as Louisiana during the summer months. Weighing 1,500 to 1,800 pounds and measuring 10 to 12 feet in length, manatees range in color from gray to brown. It’s hard to imagine how long sailors must have been at sea to confuse the manatee with a mermaid.

One of the major threats to the manatee is collisions with boats. Besides boating accidents, manatees have been found crushed or drowned in flood-control gates and also suffer from pollution and habitat loss. Manatees are protected under CITES Appendix I, Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

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