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Florida Manatees Have Fans on Facebook

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that the West Indian manatee, including a Florida subspecies, moves from endangered status to threatened status.
Florida Manatees Have Fans on Facebook
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This is What’s Trending Today…

A video of hundreds of Florida manatees has gone viral.

Manatees are aquatic mammals. The friendly creatures are sometimes called “sea cows.” But they are actually an aquatic relative of the elephant.

In the winter, the Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River is a warm-water refuge for Florida manatees. The water temperature in the springs stays at about 71 degrees F, or 21 degrees C, year-round. And visitors from around the world come to Crystal River for a chance to see the gentle animals in the wild.

On Monday, though, Three Sisters Springs announced it could not permit tourists to visit.

Why? Because too many manatees were in their waters.

The weather in Crystal River has been unusually cold. On Monday, as many as 300 manatees sheltered close together in the clear, shallow waters of Three Sisters Springs.

A short, 20-second video of the hundreds of manatees in Three Sisters Springs went viral on Facebook. And “Three Sisters Springs” became a trending topic.

On Tuesday, Three Sisters Springs announced it had reopened to visitors. But with expected cold temperatures, they might have to close again if more and more manatees come to shelter in their warm waters.

The manatee population in Florida has increased from just 1,267 to more than 6,300 in the last 25 years.

Just last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to downgrade the West Indian manatee from “endangered” to “threatened.”

But, recent media reports say that some conservation groups do not welcome the proposal. While the Florida population of manatees is growing, West Indian manatees also live in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Manatee populations in other areas may face stronger threats to their habitats.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Ashley Thompson


Words in This Story

viral - adj. relating to an image, video, advertisement, etc., that is circulated rapidly on the Internet​

aquatic - adj. living or found in or near water

shallow - adj. having a small distance to the bottom from the surface or highest point