Manatees are aquatic mammals known for their immense size and jowly appearance, as well as their lumbering way of moving while they graze on the seafloor. Manatees might not make the list of cutest animals, but enough manatee enthusiasts exist for there to be a Manatee Appreciation Day!
History of Manatee Appreciation Day
Manatee Appreciation Day is devoted to raising awareness about these quirky and massive creatures that live under the water. Affectionately known by the nickname the “sea cow”, manatees are unique and beloved but, unfortunately, they are also on the list of threatened species.
The lives of manatees are under threat for a number of reasons. While hunting manatees is usually illegal in most places, they continue to be poached for their meat and hides, leaving their populations at risk. Loss of habitat is one of the reasons that manatees are struggling to survive in the oceans and seas, when their natural nesting areas are destroyed due to human intrusion and development.
In addition, manatees can be tragically injured or even killed when they come into contact with boats. It is important to increase manatee awareness so that these fascinating animals will continue to exist in the future!
Manatee Appreciation Day got its start more than 40 years ago, in 1981, when the day was established by the Save the Manatees Club in collaboration with singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett as well as former US Senator Bob Graham.
The Save the Manatee Club continues to sponsor the day annually, offering resources and opportunities for people to get involved and help. The website provides users with access to manatee information, videos, quizzes and more.
Celebrating Manatee Appreciation Day is an ideal way to raise awareness and help these at risk animals to have a fighting chance!
How to Celebrate Manatee Appreciation Day
Show some love and affection for these creatures of the sea with some of these ideas for celebrating Manatee Appreciation Day:
Attend a Manatee Appreciation Day Event
Manatee Appreciation Day events usually take place in areas located on the water where there are large manatee populations, such as Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Zoos and marine biology centers may offer special manatee-related programming on Manatee Appreciation Day.
Make a Donation to Save the Manatees
Some participants might feel good about supporting the manatees by making a donation to an organization that helps these cows of the sea. Save the Manatees Club, the Manatee Haven, and the World Wildlife Fund are just a few of the charities that help fund the protection, rescue and rehabilitation of endangered manatees.
One cool option for helping is offered by the Save the Manatees Club, where participants can opt to symbolically adopt a manatee. The program can be sponsored monthly or annually and offers participants information about their chosen manatee as well as gifts at various levels.
Learn Fun Facts About Manatees
A super way to show support for these special animals on Manatee Appreciation Day might be to learn some interesting bits of trivia about them that can be shared in order to raise awareness about their plight.
Here are some important things to know about manatees that can be shared in celebration of the day:
Manatees regularly come up for air
Though they never leave the water, manatees swim near the surface and emerge for air every five minutes or so, but can stay submerged for as long as 20 minutes.
Manatees are herbivores
These large and unassuming creatures typically eat seagrass and other plants along the bottom of the sea.
Manatees continuously replace teeth
All throughout their lives, the older teeth in a manatee’s mouth will fall out and be replaced by new teeth that grow in at the back.
Manatees have small brains
The ratio of a manatee’s brain to its body mass is the smallest of any mammal on earth. Also, their brains are smooth instead of bumpy.