Has marine life captured the heart of this week’s ARKive team member like it did for Lauren Pascoe, or will something more terrestrial be triumphant this week?
Kathryn Pintus – ARKive Species Text Author
Favourite species? West Indian manatee
I’m a big fan of marine mammals in general, but I think the manatee just about tops the list for me! Firstly, aren’t they just adorable?! They have such cute little faces, and I love the way they use their front flippers to scoop food into their mouths, or to ‘walk’ along the bottom of the estuaries and rivers in which they live. It’s also rather amazing how such massive animals can survive just on aquatic vegetation! I went on holiday to Florida last year, where I was fortunate enough to see manatees in their natural habitat, and I got the chance to swim with them, which was a truly incredible experience. They are such docile and peaceful creatures, you can’t help but be fascinated by them.
Favourite West Indian manatee picture on ARKive?
The West Indian manatee is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List. This species was hunted for meat, hide and oil, but more recent threats include boat collisions and coastal development causing habitat loss.