Friday, May 11, 2007

Sea Cows

There are currently two manatees, a calf and a cow, between my ship and the pier. Sure, I get irked about environmentalist nonsense, but I do consider myself a conservationist. I see no problem with conserving natural resources (driving a lower-mileage car, for example) or being nice to animals (even the ones you eat), as long as it doesn't involve imposing your will on others.

Note the propeller scars on the tail and back of the cow. I think responsible boaters should keep an eye out for the animals and to not run them over with their boats, but they're not always on the surface and you can't always see them, even if you drive slowly. If you're in an area where manatees live, just be careful, please.

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Blogger shoprat bloody well said...

Those things are indeed an oddity.

In extreme ugliness (they are not pretty creatures) there is such beauty.

13 May, 2007 20:30  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin bloody well said...

It's my understanding that the boaters' props issue has been around for quite some time. Never seen one before. Only in Florida, right?


15 May, 2007 11:10  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

It's a problem for manatees as well as other sea mammals, but huge for manatees, since they hang out in shallow brackish water where sport fishermen zoom around in various motor boats and just sit there grazing. They don't move quickly at all and can't get out of the way.

There are five known species of manatee: Florida, Antillean, Amazonian, West African and Dugong. Florida manatees migrate as far north as Virginia and migrate from there to Florida and back.

I found this interesting: "Keeping warm is a real problem for these animals. Their cylindrical bodies help conserve heat, but they don't have the blubber that other marine mammals do. Their metabolism is also very low, so they don't generate a lot of body heat. As a result, they can get sick when the water temperature falls below 70° F. In cold water, they can develop pneumonia, get too sluggish to eat, and can die. Most manatees live in warm, tropical waters, but Florida manatees live in sub-tropical waters that get below 70° F in the winter months (Dec. through Mar.). Manatees have a behavior which helps them survive the colder water. In the winter, they seek out the natural warm springs of Florida's coastal rivers. They even gather where electric power plants discharge warm water. To protect manatees, many of these areas are now Manatee Sanctuaries."

Another case of man's adverse impact on the environment? Like many other creatures, they've adapted to man's modifiction of his environment (his own method of adaptation!)

15 May, 2007 11:24  

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