If You Can Dream Foundation
West Indian manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals with bodies that taper to a flat, paddle-shaped tail. They have two forelimbs, called flippers, with three to four nails on each flipper. Their head and face are wrinkled with whiskers on the snout. The manatee’s closest relatives are the elephant and the hyrax (a small, gopher-sized mammal). The West Indian manatee is related to the African manatee, the Amazonian manatee, the dugong, and Steller’s sea cow, which was hunted to extinction in 1768. The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs between 800 and 1,200 pounds.
The official number for 2021 full year was 1100 deaths and around 800 for 2022.
As seen on the diagram below the two major cause of deaths are watercraft and red tide. The death by red tide is caused by fast growing algae that grow so fast in hot days that it blocks the sun rays from reaching the seagrass, the major source of food for the manatees.
A new challenge for the manatees is the exponential growth of the Sargassum which, in large quantities, also blocks the sun rays from reaching the ocean floor where the seagrasses grow.
The largest patch of Sargassum in history was detected in the Atlantic ocean heading to Mexico, Bahamas and Florida. It is about 5000 miles wide and it will create a big impact for the manatees and the ecosystem in Florida. In itself Sargassum is not toxic but when it reach the beaches, it covers the sea and sand. The portion on sand rots quickly and creates gases such as hydrogen sulfide which smells like rotten eggs.
Although it is thought that these patches will reach Florida around end of April or May, they are already reaching Mexico in large quantities never before seeing at this time of the year.
We are going to initiate a work together on how we can combat such problem but you can also start helping right away.
Click here to see how you can help and take action now!
The map below shows how close the Sargassum patch is from the Florida shores.
Over time, we will be adding here some of our work towards saving the manatees.
See below our suggestion on what to do with the sargassum that is coming. We created a video suggestingthe convertion of the sargassum to bioplastic which is much more eco-friendly than regular plastic because it will decompose in two weeks, much faster than traditional plastic. We would be using the excess sargassum to make our planet better:
Seaweed bioplastic recipe:
5g agar-agar powder
Put the water on stove
Pour the agar-agar powder
Pour the glycerol
Stir until before the boiling point
Pour in flat surface
Wait to dry