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The Howler

The Extinct Sea Cow

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The Extinct Sea Cow

Noah Bemis, Staff Writer

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Manatees, also known as the adorable sea cow, are graceful giants. They eat seaweed from the sea floor, which helps maintain their marine environment and keep it healthy. Manatees communicate fear or excitement by squeaking underwater, and they love playing body surfing and follow the leader. Manatees are such unique and loving creatures which is why it is so sad that all three species, The West Indian, West African, and Amazonian are all vulnerable to extinction.

Why are manatees going extinct? A lot of it has to do with what human are doing. Humans used to harvest them from the wild faster than the manatees could naturally repopulate.  In fact, in the Caribbeans and South America, they are still hunted for food. Another threat to Manatees is getting hit by boats. The sea cows are slow swimmers and tend to swim close to the surface, which makes it hard for them to get out of the way of oncoming boats. “In 1990, 218 manatees, which comprised 12 percent of the United States’ manatee population, were killed in boating accidents, and many more were injured”, according to Bagheera. However the biggest threat is human impact on the manatees habitat. Chemical pollution is weakening marine life immunsystems and leaving them susceptible to diseases. To add, as humans “built along waterways, natural nesting areas are destroyed. Sewage, manure, and fertilizer runoff enters the water and causes algal blooms.  Some of this algae is toxic and can kill manatees if they eat it” (Ocean Today). As human activity will inevitably continue to climb, it is time (far beyond time) to start being more environmentally conscious and doing everything possible to preserve unique wildlife such as the manatees.

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