Are Tourist's Harming Manatees?
By Ava Andreas
Manatees are marine animals that can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds, but despite their enormous size they have no blubber to protect them in cold weather. For the approximately 6,000 Florida manatees that reside in the Gulf of Mexico it means heading to the 72°F waters of the roughly one-acre's in Three Sisters Spring Florida. However, migrating to the area is not without risks. Every year, boats kill an estimated 400 manatees as they are making their way. Those that do make it encounter a different kind of danger — humans! Experts believe that the hundreds of thousands of tourists that flock to the small area to touch and feel the manatees are stressing out the marine mammals.They maintain that the animals seek the warm waters as a place to rest and conserve energy, but with so many people crowding around them that is not possible. They are going to hire people to monitor them.