Manatees are Considered the Foundation of the Mermaid Legend

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Do you know that manatees are considered the foundation of the mermaid legend? They are considered the basis of the mermaid legend because it is believed manatees are responsible for sailors’ tales of mermaids and sirens. That must have been a long time at sea because the manatee’s also known as the sea cow. Manatees are marine mammals that breathe air through their nostrils. They are a few species of manatees: the West African, the Amazonian, and the West Indian. They are settled in rivers, in the ocean, and the shoreline of the islands. The name manatee comes from the Taino, a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean, meaning, and “beast”. The manatees are critically endangered due to human conflicts and red tide; however, concerned private organizations such as Save the Manatees club are helping them.

West Indian manatees live on the shore, as well as in rivers of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern Brazil to the southeastern United States. They also live near islands in the Caribbean Sea. Amazonian manatees live only in South American Rivers. West African manatees have their habit in the rivers and coastal waters of West Africa.

“They are large marine mammals, with whale-like bodies that taper to a flat, paddle-shaped tail” (“Manatee Facts”). Their lungs stretch horizontally along the body. Their tail is very wide and rounded. They have light gray to dark gray skin with hairs scattered over their body. They have no legs. Some reach 13ft long and weigh more than 3,500 pounds.

All manatees in the world have similar habitats. They are located in deep, slow-moving rivers, saltwater bays, canals, plus coastal areas, mostly where sea grass beds or freshwater vegetation flourishes. In addition, manatees are herbivores. “Manatees ...

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...legal to torment, hunt, capture, and assassinate any marine mammal.

The manatee is preserved by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978 that states, "It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee." (Fox, Annie) West African manatees are protected under “Class A of the African Convention of Nature and Natural Resources, issued and signed by 38 African countries”. Amazonian manatee hunting has been limited since 1973. Penalties for breaking these federal laws could result in one year in prison and a fine up to $20,000 (“Florida Manatee”).

In conclusion, the manatee is commonly known as sea cow and is a marine mammal that is able to breathe air through their nostrils. To help them to not become extinction, people need to take care of the world, especially taking care the ocean.

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