15 Animals That Are Signs From People Who Passed Away Manatees – Should You Touch Them In the Wild?

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Manatees – Should You Touch Them In the Wild?

You’ve probably seen the “do not touch” signs for manatees and wondered why that would be after hearing about places like Crystal Springs, Florida where people go to swim with manatees. I’ve heard the stories too: cows rolling on their backs to scratch their bellies. People say how much the manatees seem to like it.

So what’s the problem? If they like it, why not touch manatees in the wild?

Before I explain why in detail, let me stop at the end and say that if you touch them, you put them at a higher risk of being injured and/or killed. You also put the entire species at risk of extinction forever.

As manatees interact with humans, they lose their natural fear of humans. They also lose their natural fear of things related to people that can hurt them like boats. In other words, if you take the “wild” out of a wild creature, it loses one of its best defense mechanisms: the instinct to avoid certain situations and run away when necessary. For the protection of a manatee, it is very important that it remains wild and maintains its natural wild instinct.

Manatees are an endangered species. This means there are so few left in the world that they are barely hanging on by a thread. In fact, not only are their population numbers low, but they are also declining by at least 20% every generation! Losing just one cow to a nonsensical pre-cooked human caused death is a REALLY big deal at this point. It is important that we do everything we can to protect them. Otherwise, we may lose this amazing creature forever within the next 100 years. It is a sad thought to think that your great-grandchildren may live in a world where there are no manatees in the wild.

Another important issue to consider is that mulberries only reproduce every 3-5 years. The female stays pregnant for more than a year and the young manatees stay with their mother for about 2 years. This means that manatees have a slow growing population under the best of circumstances. They cannot replace themselves as quickly as other mammals such as rodents and rabbits that reproduce much more frequently. If you remove a single manatee, it can have a huge impact on the population at this point.

Boating accidents are one of the main ways manatees are killed and seriously injured today — and boat traffic continues to increase throughout their range. Manatees can stay underwater for 15 – 20 minutes. However, like all other marine mammals, they must come to the surface to breathe. If there is a boat in the area when they happen, they can be hit by the hull or cut off by the propeller. To make matters worse, manatees are short-sighted creatures — they see better up close than far. If a boat is traveling fast, they may not see it coming until it is too late. Manatees that are used to people are more likely to associate the sound of a boat engine with people, and they will be more inclined to move to areas where there is high boat traffic. The number of boating-related accidents with manatees has skyrocketed over the past decade.

Another issue with vipers being too comfortable with humans is that not all humans are good and it only takes one bad apple to kill or injure a viper. If manatees are taught to have their bellies scratched by humans, they can expect ALL human beings to be so friendly. Unfortunately, we know that not all human beings are so friendly. In fact, there are some who would actually take some sort of sadistic pleasure out of harming a creep. It is much safer for manatees if they do not lose their instinct to avoid people.

It is especially important not to touch or interact with a mother cow when she is with her pup. It takes two years for the mother to teach her dog everything it needs to know to survive on its own. Interaction with the mother and/or the dog at this critical stage may result in the separation of the two. If this happens, the cub may not be ready to take care of itself and may very well die, not to mention the negative effect it will have on the distressed Mother.

Most people who are forced to touch a manatee do so because they love animals. They want to touch it because they are attracted to such a fascinating and wonderfully strange creature. They mean the manatee does no harm. They just don’t realize that touching the dish can damage it or put it at higher risk of being killed. It is mainly for those people that I am writing this article for.

Please understand that for the sake of the manatee, the best way to observe it is to keep a respectful distance. There is also a great advantage to your observing them this way — a great advantage that you may not have realized before. When you observe a wild animal from a respectable distance, you can see how the animal naturally behaves! As much fun as it can be to touch a hedgehog, it’s even more fun to see what it does in the wild. If you go with an ethical eco-tour operator, they can show you how to see the animals at relatively close range, but without disturbing them. This can be one of the most enriching and memorable experiences you will ever have.

So if you see a manatee while swimming or snorkeling, try to keep a respectful distance and just observe how it behaves naturally. The less you interact with it, the more acclimatized it will be around you and the more natural it will behave. You will be greatly rewarded for showing the animal this respect, I assure you! If you are in a group, make sure you don’t completely surround the manatee, even at a distance, as this will make them feel trapped.

If you are boating and spot a manatee, be sure to slow down to avoid any chance of a collision. If you are taking a guided excursion and someone else is driving the boat, if they do not slow down, point out the manatee and ask them to slow down. Sometimes when manatees come to the surface for air, most of their body is underwater and only their snouts stick out. In these cases, they can be difficult to see and the boat operator may have missed it. That way, even if you’re not steering the boat, you can really help by keeping an eye out for them.

Remember that manatees are a real treasure in this world that can disappear if we are not extremely careful about how we behave around them. Please pass this information on to anyone you know who cares for manatees and other endangered wildlife. You can help save them just by getting the right information out there.

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