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Florida's tropical waters are home to a great diversity of life and perhaps none are more rare and endearing than the manatee. All manatee species can be found in warm tropical and subtropical waters in North America, South America, and West Africa.

Florida Manatee Endangered

What’s a manatee? Hard to believe, but manatees were once thought to be mythological creatures like mermaids. Manatees are gentle, plant-eating marine mammals. These heavy herbivores help keep waterways clear—some can eat up to 200 lb. (90 kg) of vegetation a day. Manatees are also endangered, so please admire them from a safe distance. Giving them water or food is illegal because it disrupts their natural behavior and can make them dependent on people.

To the Rescue

Manatees face natural threats like diseases and stress from cold weather. But, manatees are also hurt by preventable problems like being hit by fast-moving boats or entangled in fishing line. These rescued manatees receive care until they’re well enough to be returned to Florida’s waterways. Their recovery may take many months for injuries and illness or several years for orphaned calves being hand raised by our animal experts. SeaWorld has rescued hundreds of endangered manatees. You can do better. Slow down and watch for wildlife, recycle fishing line and stay connected at