Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Life Mammal

On my recent trip to the Everglades in February, I saw my life manatee. It was a melancholy event.
I may have seen a manatee (or two) on a previous trip, although it was not a satisfying look. A large brown blob well below the surface. This year I got much better looks. 
I saw them at Flamingo. My first look was of an adult surfacing in the lagoon. It did this several times, but I was too far away to get any photos. I would see manatees surfacing, snouts breaking the surface to breathe, several times throughout the morning. But never once got the camera on the  beast (I tried). I mentioned this to one of the rangers and she told me that there was a manatee that was known to haunt the far dock area. So off I went. And I found a manatee, right where she said it would be.

It was a youngster, lazily floating just under the surface, occasionally breaking through to breathe. But otherwise it was doing nothing. Which as far as I know is normal behavior for manatees. 

I was not the only person watching and several were quite excited to see one of these creatures up close and for an extended period of time. Many cameras were pointed straight down.
But it was obvious not everything was right with this manatee.

As you can see there are some rather large scars across its back. I would later learn that these scars were new. Sadly, even in a place like the Everglades these peaceful creatures were still at risk. 

It seems that it would be a simple thing to throttle back while leaving the harbor and heading out to the bay. And I find it hard to believe that any boater in the Everglades would not be aware of the damage boats present to manatees. But I guess my sensibilities are not everyones. I find that very sad.

1 comment:

ldallara said...

Great job on these manatee's images which are a difficult subject and one of my favorite.