Manatees and Humans Relationship
Humans haven’t for the most part been something that the manatee can rely on. This is because they are the biggest cause of their demise. In earlier times it was common for some cultures to hunt the manatees and consume the meat from them. However, it wasn’t on a large scale.
Some hunting has been done of them due to the sport of killing such a large aquatic animal. However, this is illegal in most areas so it has dramatically reduced those that take part in it. Since there isn’t any body parts such as skin, teeth, or tusks on a manatee to sell for profit that has never been a concern.
In many ways the various advances that humans have made in their own lives have lead to the further destruction of the manatees. For example we have more factories and pollution now than in the past. These types of pollution as well as chemicals make their way to the waters where the manatee live. They can result in bacteria and parasites developing that destroy them in large numbers.
Such environmental changes have also led to global warming. This can make it hard for the manatee to find food in their natural habitat. Their movements to find food many take them to cold water areas where they can’t find anything warmer before dying due to the change in their body temperature. Some of the water areas dry up too and they end up stranded. As a result they will starve to death because they aren’t able to move their bodies without enough water.
The fact that we now make very large boats and ships that share these same waters is a huge problem for the manatees. They can be struck in the head by these boats, ran over, or have their bodies cut up from propellers. They often die from such injuries if the accident isn’t enough to kill them at that point in time.
Humans also have taken control of water ways. Instead of the water flowing on its own, we often manipulate it. For example we create flood gates and navigation locks. If the gates are open the manatee can get through them. If the current is very strong they can drown. There are times when the gates are being closed as manatees are passing though and this will crush them.
In fact, being trapped in flood gates is the second leading cause of death for manatees, only behind boating related incidents. One way that this is being handled is to install gates that will stop is motion is detected. The biggest problem though is that they can cost up to $50,000 each to replace what is there right now.
All hope is not lost though when it comes to humans and manatees. Most humans don’t have any problem with them. These are very gentle creatures so humans don’t fear them as they do sharks and other aquatic live. The biggest problem is that most humans aren’t aware of the fact that their actions are causing problems for the manatees. That is where tactics from conservation groups come in.
These groups strive to educate the public about the manatees and their low numbers. They also want to make people aware of what they can do to prevent more problems for the manatees. This is done on many levels including in the schools, for adults, and even for congress. The more we all work together to save the manatees the more we will all benefit. However, it is going to take conscious efforts of the behalf of humans for this to become a reality.