Florida's Gentle Giants
The West Indian Manatee, of which there are an estimated 3,000 in the United States, is protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Manatees average 10 feet in length, weigh 1,000 lbs. and are herbivorous. Their closest relative is the elephant, they produce a single calf every 2-5 years after a 13 month gestation period and manatee mothers nurse their young for up to 2 years.
Photo by Charlie Slider