Sadly, manatees are threatened by humans: Their slow-moving nature means they’re frequently hit and killed by boats; their docile temperament means they have no defense against being harassed by tourists; and climate change, pollution and habitat destruction have impacted the growth of the aquatic plants they eat, causing hundreds to starve. All three species (West Indian manatee, Amazonian manatee and West African manatee) are endangered or threatened.
Unlike many wild mammals, manatees reproduce slowly, carrying a calf for 12-14 months and caring for them for around two years. Without human interference, manatees can live to roughly 60 years old.
Over centuries, manatees have been known as “sea cows” or even mistaken for mermaids. Christopher Columbus described manatees as “mermaids” in a written account from 1493.
SeaWorld plans to end the breeding of killer whales at its facilities and will not have orcas in any new parks opened around the world. Help spread this momentous change to other aquatic parks by not attending dolphin, whale or other marine mammal shows.