Your Valentine + an adopted manatee = true love
Are you looking for a unique way to say you care this Valentines Day? Say I love you with a manatee. For $20, you can adopt a manatee for your Valentine through Save the Manatee Clubs (SMC) Adopt-A-Manatee program and send a personalized Valentines Day gift card and message. Youll provide a years worth of love and help protect an endangered species.
Weighing an average of 1,000 pounds and measuring 10 feet long or more, manatees are close to being a ton of love. These gentle giants, as they have been called, are large, slow-moving, aquatic mammals known for their sweet temper and curiosity. Manatees spend most of their time eating, resting, and traveling and can be found along the southeast coast of the United States. A migrating species, manatees need warm water to survive and are located primarily in Florida in winter.
There are 30 manatees in SMCs Adopt-A-Manatee program. Twenty of the adoptive manatees live in the wild and migrate each winter to a natural warm water spring at Blue Spring State Park, near Orange City, Fla. Five female manatees live permanently at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Florida. In addition, five manatees frequently seen in the Tampa Bay area and along the west coast of Florida are up for adoption.
Manatees in the adoption program at Blue Spring include Lenny, Flash, Nick, Phyllis, and Lily. Lenny is known as the couch-potato manatee because he likes to sleep a lot when visiting Blue Spring. Flash is a shy manatee, so named because he takes off at the slightest sound. Nick is affectionately known as Crazy Nick because he has been known to head north when all the other manatees are heading south for the winter. Phyllis is a faithful visitor to Blue Spring. Park rangers think she likes the area because she has been named attendance champion so many times. Lily is also a Blue Spring regular. In fact, she is usually one of the first manatees to arrive each season. Lily recently brought a new calf to the spring.
The manatees in the adoption program at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park include Amanda, Ariel, Betsy, Rosie, and Lorelei. Amanda was rescued after suffering severe injuries from a motorboat propeller. Her daughters, Ariel and Betsy, are also in the Adopt-A-Manatee program. Rosie is a sweet, gentle manatee known for adopting young manatee orphans who come to reside at the park. Lorelei is gentle as well and is often seen resting with the other manatees.
Several manatees frequently seen in the Tampa Bay area and along the west coast of Florida can also be adopted. The manatees in the Tampa Bay program include Elsie, Flicker, Ginger, Jemp and Vector. Elsie is easily identified because her tail was badly mutilated from an encounter with a boat propeller. Flicker is a female manatee and has a series of small propeller scars that remind researchers of flickering flames. Ginger has been seen every summer since 1994 in the Marco Island area of Florida. She has had at least two calves, and one of them is named Ale! Jemp travels a wide range of Floridas west coast. Vector is also a traveling man(atee)! He has been tracked as far north as the Suwannee River in the northeast area of Florida.
Approximately 3,000 manatees remain in the United States today, and they are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. SMCs Adopt-A-Manatee program helps to fund education and public awareness projects; research, rescue and rehabilitation; and advocacy and legal efforts to help protect manatees and their habitat. SMC is the worlds leading manatee conservation program and was established in 1981 by U.S. Senator Bob Graham and singer Jimmy Buffett. A manatee adoption packet includes an adoption certificate, an underwater photo, a biography of the adopted manatee, and a membership handbook with information and photos for the manatee enthusiast. A subscription to the Save the Manatee Club Newsletter is included and features updates on the adopted manatee throughout the year.
For information on manatees or the Adopt-A-Manatee program, or for a free manatee protection tips packet, contact Save the Manatee Club at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751, call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646), or visit their Web site at www.savethemanatee.org.