Florida Manatees Face a Tough Battle Against Boats and Climate Change

Gentle Giants

2 of 12
manatee photo

credit: Rebecca Jackrel

2 of 12

The West Indian manatee living in Florida are protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as well as the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. Manatees grow to as large as 1,200 lbs and can live as long as 60 years. As they are long-lived animals, they have a low reproduction rate, coming to maturity around five years of age and producing one calf every two to five years. This means every manatee living today is very important to keeping the population going. But that is tough to do when you're facing as many problems as this sweet sea cow.