Pick/Protect 21: The West Indian Manatee

Filed Under (Pick/Protect 21, Uncategorized, conservation) by Alexa & Cindy on 24-05-2010

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Today is Manatee Monday for Pick/Protect 21.

This is a very special post, because the endangered Manatee is my favorite sea creature. I love all sea creatures, but I encourage you to Pick/Protect this one.

Try and watch this without your heart melting:

Why you should pick them

  • I already said it’s my favorite ocean creature, but here are some additional reasons to pick the manatee:
  • Their only enemy: boat propellers (in other words, man).
  • Manatees stay and travel near the coastline of the ocean, but they like to live in rivers near the ocean.
  • They are noisy plant eaters, and eat up to 60-plus pounds of water plants per day.
  • They usually give birth to one calf per year (sometimes they even have twins). It’s also been said that they make great parents.
  • Now here’s a really weird fact: manatees used to be called mermaids. Looking at manatees in the video, they don’t look like mermaids AT ALL. Hundreds of years ago, when sailors first saw Manatees (including one famous sailor named Christopher Columbus), they somehow thought, with their wacky imaginations, that they were mermaids.
  • Manatees grow to be between 800 and 1200 pounds, and 8.2-9.8 feet long. They have paddle-shaped tails, and shorter snouts than their cousins, the dugongs.
  • They spend their days eating, sleeping and travelling, and they swim very slowly.
  • Manatees are nicknamed “sea cows,” because when you look at a manatee grazing under water, they look a lot like a cow grazing on land. They’re messy and noisy eaters!
  • The land animal the manatee is most closely related to is the elephant.
  • Thousands of years ago, Manatees used to graze on land with cows, but over time, they entered the water, and their front legs evolved into flippers, their back legs into a paddle-shaped tail, and they became water animals. But, they still have fingernails on their flippers to prove that they were once land animals.

Why they need protecting

Once again, their main enemies are boat propellers. While in the water, a Manatee might hear the buzzing noise of a boat propeller and get curious. As Manatees have literally NO fear, one might swim up to the propeller out of curiosity, and BAM! The boat propeller hits the Manatee. Some drown, some are badly injured as a result.

In 2009, a record number of Manatees were recorded in Florida (3809), but unfortunately, a record number were also killed in the same year (419), most by humans, and 30% of those deaths from boat strikes. That equals 12.5% of the whole population killed, which is not good.

How you can protect them

Spread the word to boaters you know to pay attention to Manatee zones in the water. That means turn off your engine.

You can also donate to the Manatee cause. One way is to join the Save the Manatee Club. You can click on the ad in the sidebar here on O4E to find out how you can adopt one for your dad for father’s day, or for yourself or someone you love, anytime.

You can also help the STMC by voting for them in the Pepsi Refresh Project as they compete for a grant to study Manatees in Florida (vote now – the contest ends May 31st).

I encourage you to find all you can about the Manatee and tell ME some ways you can protect it – unless I already know. ;-)


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World Oceans Day is just 21 days away: pick your favorite sea creature, then protect it.

Filed Under (Activism, Pick/Protect 21, Special Events, Uncategorized, conservation) by Alexa & Cindy on 17-05-2010

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Happy Monday, Ocean Lovers!

That’s right, World Oceans Day  2010 is just three weeks from tomorrow – June 8th, 2010.

It’s the second-annual event celebrating all things ocean, and this year, it also marks what would be the 100th birthday of famed ocean explore Jacques Cousteau.

Each WOD has a theme, and this year it’s “Oceans of Life.” The Ocean Project, who sponsors the day, would like to encourage everyone to pick a favorite sea animal, and then act to protect it.

Pick your favorite * Protect your favorite” may be a hard thing to do – there are so many amazing creatures in the ocean – but we here at O4E can help you out a bit. Take a look around the blog, and discover some of the unbelievably cool - but realistically fragile creatures that live in our oceans.

With all the pollutants and man-made disasters befalling them constantly, these creatures need our help if they are to survive in their own habitat into future generations.

  • Over the next three weeks, O4E is having a contest with itself to spotlight 21 ocean creatures  with complete bios and important info, and show you ways you can help them now, from wherever you live.

We’re calling it Pick/Protect 21 for Oceans. Forever.

Can we do it?

It’s kind of crazy. It means two posts a day, because we have lots of other ocean posts on our calendar.

Can you handle it?

Bet you can!

And we’d love your help!

If you know of a sea creature that needs protecting and a charitable organization to give to, a way to change your lifestyle, or any other way to help protect it, comment here or on future Pick/Protect 21 posts!

More on WOD and what’s going on globally for the celebration in upcoming posts.

Right now, we have to get busy, so splash you later.

Ready, set, go!


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Gigantic Oil Spill Leaking Thousands of Gallons of Oil a Day into the Gulf of Mexico

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Alexa & Cindy on 30-04-2010

The news is bad for the Gulf Coast, and it just keeps getting worse.

On April 20th, an explosion at the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig, located in the Gulf of Mexico, created an oil leak that is dumping oil into the ocean at a rate five times worse than was originally reported.

As if 1,000 gallons of oil pouring into the gulf a day wasn’t bad enough, it’s now estimated that 5,000 gallons are seeping into the ocean per day, and will take three months to clean up.

It happened about 50 miles from the coast of Louisiana, and left 11 people dead. The oil rig itself has since sunk. And in the last few days, a second leak – and as of Wednesday, a third leak – have also sprung.

Here’s a map , courtesy of the New York Times, of what the oil spill could do to wildlife in the areas it reaches – it is expected to affect many species of sea birds, including some of our favorites that we’ve had the extreme pleasure to play among along both Florida coasts in the last month – including sea turtles, brown pelicans, bluefin tuna, mottled ducks and reddish egrets.

This spill is a tragedy, one that may have an impact on what President Obama does in the future about off-shore oil drilling.

Below is a video overview of the explosion and its aftermath, and how emergency workers are trying to contain it. What have you learned about the spill and what do you think the President and lawmakers should do, going forward, about drilling for oil out in the ocean?

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