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The West Indian Manatee

The West Indian Manatee The West Indian Manatee can be found in Trinidad, they are found in small population pockets of about thirty-two in the Nariva Manatee Sanctuary. They are land-locked and cannot return to the sea. All sirenian species in the world are considered endangered.
kayack on the Nariva santuary Take a kayak ride down the Nariva River in hopes of seeing one of these silent creatures...Permission, though, is required from the Ministry of Agriculture. A forestry division game warden will be your guide.
Manatees do not have blowholes. They breathe through nostrils, like seals. Their nostrils have fleshy "valves" that close when they are underwater. They may surface to breathe as often as every 30 seconds. However, they have been known to stay submerged for up to 20 minutes. Although the exact purpose is not clear, it is thought the “vibrisae” or whiskers on a manatee’s snout are sensory in function. Researchers have discovered that each whisker has a nerve connection to a small cluster of cells in the manatee’s brain devoted exclusively to that whisker! Further research may solve more of these mysteries.
The gestation period is approximately one year.Manatee calves are about three to four feet long and weigh between 60 and 70 pounds at birth. Mother manatees nurse their young for a long period, and a calf may remain dependent on its mother for up to two years. The female manatee assumes total responsibility for raising the calf. The calf nurses from nipples located behind the mother's flippers and begins to eat plants a few weeks after birth.
Manatees are herbivores (plant-eaters), feeding on a large variety of submerged, emergent, and floating plants. Seagrass beds are important feeding sites for manatees. Some favorite foods of manatees include: Marine vegetation: Manatee grass, turtle grass, shoal grass, widgeon grass. Freshwater vegetation: Hydrilla, eelgrass, water hyacinth, and water lettuce. Although manatees are herbivores, sometimes sea squirts, mollusks or any of several species of zooplankton can be inadvertenly eaten while the manatee feeds on seagrasses. It is estimated that manatees can eat about 10-15% of their body weight in vegetation daily. So a 1,000 pound manatee would eat between 100-150 pounds of food a day!
Ever wonder why we dont use powerboats on the Nariva River? When a manatee gets hit by a boat propeller, it also creates prop wounds which take the form of a parallel series of slash marks. If the injury is deep enough, it can be seen on the manatee forever. If the injury is superficial, it will still be there, but you wouldn't be able to see it unless you got very close as skin would grow on top of it.

ENDANGERED SPECIES!!! Remember Extinction is Forever....

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