Cuba Manatee Conservation

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Antillean Manatee Fast Facts


The Antillean manatee is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee as is the Florida manatee.

All West Indian manatees share these characteristics: they are gray or brown with two flippers that have 3-4 nails (they don’t really hold food with their flippers except in captivity when they’re fed lettuce). The females are larger than males. The Antillean manatee is slightly smaller than the Florida manatee.

What they eat
The Antillean manatee is primarily herbivorous and feeds on a wide variety of submerged, floating, and shoreline vegetation.

440 to 1,320 lbs.

8.5 – 11.5 feet

Greatest Threats

Human threats include entanglement in fishing gear, hunting – though it is illegal and lack of public awareness of how to protect this gentle marine animal. All manatees face the threat of injury or death from cold stress if they lack access to warm waters.

A Florida manatee with a young calf, first photographed by Dr. James “Buddy” Powell in Crystal River in 1979, was sighted and photographed by CMA Associate Scientist Anmari Alvarez Aleman at a power plant east of Havana. This is the first record of a Florida manatee traveling to Cuba and suggests that there may be some population exchange between the two countries.

CMA Blog

Posted May 21, 2020
Updated May 21, 2020 | Posted May 20, 2020
Updated May 21, 2020 | Posted May 20, 2020
Updated Jul 8, 2019 | Posted May 22, 2017
Updated Jul 8, 2019 | Posted Feb 27, 2017
Updated Jul 8, 2019 | Posted Jan 30, 2017

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