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Manatees Essay

7687 words - 31 pages

There are certain factors that cause a species to become endangered. They are species with a very narrow geographical range, species that migrate, species with specialized niche requirements, species with small population size, species with only one or a few population sizes, species that need a large home range. The manatee has all of these stipulations acting on it and this has caused them to become endangered.All species require certain factors to be met in order to survive. If some or even just one of these factors is missing it could mean disaster for that species. This is happening to a particular species right now. This species is the manatee, and many of its requirements to survive are not being met. This is causing the manatee population to decrease more every year. What is happening to the manatee is happening to many different species around the world. They are all tied together by the need of certain factors in order to survive. When these factors fail to be met it demonstrates what can happen to a particular species. What are the universal factors in determining if a species survives or becomes extinct? There are certain factors that make a species more vulnerable to becoming extinct. It does not mean that if this factor is met endangerment is certain. Each species may react differently to different factors. What is certain is the more factors that are met the greater percentage the species has of becoming endangered. Certain factors may also have more of an effect than others may. Again, this affects different species differently. The first factor in determining species survival is, species that have a large body size are more susceptible of becoming endangered. This is because large animals tend to have large individual ranges, require more food, and are more easily hunted out by humans. The manatee is about 10 feet in length and adults usually weigh around 800-1200 pounds but have been known to weigh 3500 pounds. Manatees consume about 4% to 9% (32 to 108 lb. or 15-49 kg for an adult manatee) of their body weight in wet vegetation daily (Seaworld.org.). The range of the Florida manatee is primarily peninsular Florida, but extends as far north as Virginia and as far west as Mississippi. Antillean manatees have a patchy distribution throughout the Caribbean including Mexico, southern Texas, and South America. The southern range extends through Central and South America to Brazil. West African manatees range from Senegal to Angola, on the west coast of Africa. Amazonian manatees inhabit the Amazon Basin, mostly in Brazil (Rathburn 1990). Species in which animals need to forage over a large home range are more prone to become endangered because when part of their range is damaged or destroyed it is harder for them to recover (Van Meter 1989). In spite of the fact that manatees are legally protected, poachers and vandals are responsible for manatee deaths. In some areas of the Caribbean and in South America, manatees are...

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