Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sea Cow Gets Herded Back Out to Sea

One of my favorite marine animals is the manatee. I confess, if it were possible, I'd love to hug 'em and plant a big kiss on their noses.

A manatee, or sea cow, was rescued today by a group of Filipino fishermen that got trapped by low tide on the shore of Palawan island's Puerto Princesa city. This manatee was one of the largest surviving members of the Dugong Dugon subspecies which is endangered.

Read the article here.

Let's hope Enero or January in the Tagalog language, as the fishermen nicknamed her, will have a long and tranquil life back where she belongs.

I cannot imagine the standards of beauty that early sailors might have had when they thought manatees were mermaids. Were women in that day so ugly that their faces could be mistaken for a manatee's? At any rate, manatees became part of the order "Sirenia" which means "siren." Sirens were half-woman creatures that could lure sailors into danger and ultimately, death. The other name for the manatee, which is sea cow, seems to be quite a more appropriate fit in my mind.

Manatees can live up to 50-60 years. They grow to about 9-10 ft. long and weigh on average about 1,000 pounds. They are hunted in South and Central American countries, but the leading cause of death for a manatee is boat collisions or getting tangled in fishing nets. Of course, pollution is affecting this mammal as much as it is others. Get some interesting information on manatees at All About Manatees.

If you are ever in the Columbus, Ohio, area, consider a visit to the Manatee Coast at the Columbus Zoo to visit the current residents of this beautiful manatee exhibit. Their aquarium is built to house up to five full-grown manatees, and they have recently transitioned more from performing the role of rehabilitation and release to medical conditioning and research for manatees.

Other resources for manatees are:

Save the Manatee Club

Manatee Cam

West Indian Manatee

Watch these Manatees give butterfly kisses: