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The West Indian Manatee

The West Indian manatee is one of three manatees and four sea cows (along with the dugong) alive today. This species lives in warm waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, and in addition to spending most of its time in shallow coastal seas, it occasionally enters freshwater – particularly warm springs – where it spends some of the colder winter months.

The West Indian manatee has some or complete legal protection throughout most of its range, but it is still hunted in some places and is threatened by habitat destruction, collision with boats, and accidental capture in fisheries targeting other species. 

Populations are depleted in some places and regionally extinct in others. Without careful management of the human activities that threaten this species, it could be lost from more places.

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