Tracking Manatees in the U.S.
Manatee Fast Facts
Status and Threats:
- Minimum population count = 6,063 manatees (Feb 2015).
- Manatees have no natural predators.
- Manatees experience human-related mortality from:
- boat strikes.
- entanglement in and ingestion of fishing gear.
- being crushed in and/or drowned in lock structures.
- habitat loss.
- The loss of warm water habitat is a serious concern as power plants close and natural springs are threatened.
Description and Behavior:
- Large, slow moving aquatic mammals.
- Average adult manatee is 10 ft long and weighs 800-1,200 lbs.
- Can weigh in excess of 3,000 lbs.
- Flat, paddle-shaped tail, two flippers, and tough, grey skin that contains many whiskers.
- Manatees are herbivores.
- Can consume 10-15% of their body weight in vegetation daily.
- Closest relative = elephant.
- Manatees can live to be 60 years of age or more.
- Calves are born weighing 60-70 pounds and are 3-4 feet in length.
- Twins have been documented but are rare.
- Mothers nurse their calves for one-two years.
- Manatees do not thrive in waters less than 68°F.
All manatee work was conducted under USFWS Research Permit #MA37808A.
CMA Research Institute scientists contribute to a dataset on manatees in the USA that is vast and invaluable to other marine scientists and marine conservation decision makers.
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