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Ignorance is deadly for native manatees

By Staff | Feb 24, 2016

To the editor:

When it comes to manatees, there are myths that exist which need clarification. Chuck Presser’s recent letter, “Manatees are not native” is an example of one of those damaging myths.

Not only are manatees a native Florida species, but they and their ancestors were part of Florida’s aquatic ecosystems long before humans appeared.

Sadly, Mr. Presser’s views on both the manatees, (Florida’s official marine mammal) and Save the Manatee Club, only bolsters the argument that the risk and threats facing endangered manatees are in no way under control.

As an aquatic biologist who has studied manatees for more than 40 years, I can assure you that it is man’s pollution and not the manatee’s that is raising havoc with our aquatic vegetation.

When you consider that nearly every manatee alive bears the scars of being hit by a boat, and have come within an inch of being killed like so many other manatees have, I assure you this is no joke.

There may be no hope for changing some minds, but I can’t be silent when the letter writer calls for manatees to be hunted down and killed so that boaters won’t have to be bothered to slow their boats a bit.

As a life-long boater and fisherman, I am grateful that most boaters and fishermen don’t share this misguided and abhorrent view.

Patrick Rose, Aquatic Biologist

Maitland, Florida