Endangered Species

West Indian Manatees in Florida

I did a piece on the Manatee way back in 92, hoping that the creatures would be safe by now, however, things have got worse and the poor Manatee is in dire straits. Although it is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978 the Manatee are still being maimed or killed in Florida. In 2001 325 were killed the highest since 1996 when 400 were killed, this year so far 258 have been killed, a third of those proven to be from boats. The highest mortality is due to watercraft that hit the creature and crush or slash the animal with the propellers. Manatee need to surface often while they swim which is why they are so vulnerable to getting hit by the boats.

Another big reason they die is because their habitat is less now that it was previously. Pollution, humans, harassment, boat traffic, etc. have made the areas that the Manatee swim a dangerous environment. For more facts please click HERE.

Recently I adopted a Manatee called 'Rosie' from the 'Save the Manatee Club'. You get to chose the Manatee you wish to sponsor and they send you information about what you can do to help as well as a photo of your Manatee and booklets and brochures about the danger these creatures are in. Please contact them if you wish an unusual Christmas or birthday gift for a loved one or even yourself.

animated graphic ©Save the Manatee Club

 Plants are a vital part of our environment. They not only yield a range of essential material products, from timber to medicines, but also provide mental and spiritual comfort to people all around the world. - ©World Wildlife Federation

Endangered species do not just mean animals but plants as well, many of the plants being used today for medicines are becoming endangered because of the recent popularity of herbs that can affect the plants in the wild by over harvesting and also because the rainforests where many of them grow are still being destroyed. Some plants of course are commercially farmed and harvested and these are thriving but those growing wild are in danger.

New plant-derived medicines are most likely to be found in rainforests, as these areas are richest in plant diversity. About 26 hectares (37 football pitches) of rainforest have been lost in the past minute and every minute, due to threats such as illegal logging, land clearance for agriculture and forest fire, meaning of course that every minute plants are lost that could save lives. The movie 'Medicine Man' with Sean Connery gives a pretty good overview of the situation, see if you can find a copy and watch it, it really makes you think!

The WWF have a program that encourages the public in conserving the plant life in their area of the world. Click HERE for details. Do take a look.


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