An open letter to the West Indian Manatee

Eco-Tourism Travel

Oh manatees,
You are the sweetest beings on the planet. 
I mean really!
What other enormous animal has humans, seeking them out, paying money, just to swim with them? To say the least, you're hot stuff!
Just like the 72 degree spring water you desire in the winter months, when the oceans get below 68 degrees.
I hear you've got the instinct of an, um, manatee to know when it's time to hibernate into the springs to avoid hypothermia. BTW, you potentially can suffer from hypothermia!??! me too!
One time, one of your family members traveled all the way to Cape Cod. Humans thought it was a mistake and brought your homeboy back down the coast, but you know what he did? The next year he swam back up the coast to Massachusetts with a gang of homies. 
If I find a great spot to hang out, I definitely bring my friends on the next trip.
That's why for my birthday this year, I invited my family to the Florida springs to meet you.
  
BTW, thank you for sharing your space with me and my family. I know the winter time is full survival mode for you as you gather seaweed and try to eat 20 percent of your body weight in a day. 
I use to think you were chubby, you know the good chubby, think Biggie with a barnacle style Coogi sweater, but it's cool to know that your lungs take up most of your body space. This allows you to stay under water up to 15 minutes before needing to come to the surface for air. After all you're a mammal like me. 
You don't have a natural predator, which is dope. But we both share humans as a subsequent predator. Three species of your kind have gone extinct due to: humans hunting, boats harming, and commercial destruction killing off your family. Incarceration, police brutality, and processed foods are taken my family out slowly but surely. 
My friend tells me as a little boy he watched you saved his drowning friend. And because of you, sweet manatee, I totally believe him.
It's cool that you not only take care of your manatee family, but also carry barnacle families on your back, literally! That was the one way I could distinguish between the spring manatees and the ones traveling in town for the winter.
I will do my part to tell citizens of the Fort to not use harmful fertilizers, which become runoff water in springs, your home. I will tell them to look from a far, not to touch you unless your facing them, because you like to use your whiskers to sense human frequencies. I will tell them to avoid motor boating in winter months when you and your family members huddle in the springs. I will tell them to consider how even their actions all across the globe can affect your habitats especially since you travel all the way up to Cape Cod, and have cousins along the African West Coast, the Indian Ocean (Dugong) and South American (Antiliean Manatee).
I will be back, with more friends. Thank you for showing humans how to be resilient and divine. 
Peace from the Fort,
Ree

Older Post Newer Post