Here we are, more than halfway through November, and only now am I learning that this is Manatee Awareness Month. Manatees, for those of you who are not aware, are marine mammals that live along the coast of Florida. They’re endangered because of boaters who strike the animals at high speeds, maiming and killing them. This year, huge algal blooms are also implicated in a record number of manatee deaths.
Manatees are worth becoming more aware of, but I live far away from the warm waters where the animals swim. So, is this distance the explanation for my ignorance of Manatee Awareness Month?
I checked the top 50 recent containing the word “manatee” published recently by journalists. Only 6 of those were actually about manatees. Most of the articles described human communities with “manatee” in the place name – such as Manatee County.
Some of these articles, from the News Press, USA Today, and the Sun Sentinel, were about the algal bloom problem. CBS Miami reported on the annual manatee migration to warmer waters. One Green Planet has provided a general manatee overview. NBC 40, up in New Jersey, advised its viewers that that they can get a free manatee calendar from a pro-manatee organization.
Locally and nationally, manatee awareness seems to at a low point -despite the newsworthy rise in deaths of the endangered animals.