The Importance in Preserving Manatee Habitats

The Importance in Preserving Manatee Habitats

As the human population in Florida increases and waterfront development continues, manatees are losing the habitats they rely on in order to survive. Development can damage seagrasses, which are the main source of food for manatees. Development can also degrade water quality and reduce the availability of warm water from natural springs that provide manatees shelter during periods of cold weather. At temperatures under 68 degrees F, the stress of the cold water in manatee habitats can be harmful or even fatal for manatees.

Residential and commercial development has reduced the number of natural warm springs that manatees once used to stay warm during the winter. Now, most manatees rely on the warm water outfall that power plants produce. But if plants are shut down, or the equipment experiences some kind of failure, manatees are left without the warmer water. The survival of Florida’s manatees will depend on protecting the natural warm springs that they rely on, and ensuring that they can enjoy those places safely.

Agencies such as Defenders are advocating for the establishment of more protection for manatee habitats, including three Sisters Spring at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and Kings Bay Manatee Refuge, so that manatees can shelter in warm springs they need and travel to them with reduced threats from speeding watercrafts. Increased protection and restoration of natural springs is also needed.

The waters off of Naples, Florida are a wonderful place to see manatees while out on the waters and we provide an educated staff that is very informed and careful when in the waters, to avoid hurting any manatees, while sharing knowledge of these wonderful creatures and offering a boat ride to see them in their natural manatee habitats. Despite their massive size, manatees are extremely gentle and we support their protection, while sharing their beauty.