Pull some heartstrings this Valentine’s Day — adopt a manatee!

Online Staff Report

Valentine’s Day is a special time to show some heart. Save the Manatee Club suggests giving meaningful, green and compassionate manatee gift adoptions to loved ones this Feb. 14.

Rob Babich from Taylor, Pa., adopted Lorelei from the Club’s Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Fla., adoption program for his wife Liz last Valentine’s Day. They then adopted Margarito from Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Fla., for their grandchildren, Aiden and Mackenzie, whoalso live in Pennsylvania. “We love manatees,” said Rob. “When I saw the Club’s ad on Facebook, I just had to adopt one for my wife. And when my wife received her manatee for Valentine’s Day, we decided we had to get one for the grandkids.”

Every manatee in the Club’s five adoption programs is a real manatee and has a known history. Most other wild animal adoption programs do not feature real animals, only symbolic ones. Tax-deductible gift adoptions from Save the Manatee Club cost $25 and include a biography and adoption certificate featuring the manatee selected. Also included is a membership handbook filled with photos, facts and information, subscriptions to the Club’s official quarterly newsletter, The Manatee Zone, and the bi-monthly e-newsletter, Paddle Tales, and a year’s membership in Save the Manatee Club. A personalized Valentine’s Day gift card comes with each adoption, and postage is free within the United States. An 8-inch manatee plush toy is included with every gift adoption of $35 or more.

Margaret McLoud, a retired nurse who resides in northern Indiana, gave a Valentine’s Day manatee adoption to her cousin’s children. “I wanted to bring some awareness of manatees and their needs, as well as their incredible charm, to my cousin’s family, especially the children, who live in Washington State,” she explained. “And what child wouldn’t appreciate a manatee?”

Funds from the adoption program help manatees survive. Each year, many manatees are injured or killed by human activities, including boat strikes, entanglements, and habitat loss. Save the Manatee Club, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and manatee welfare organization, established in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, works to safeguard manatees by assisting with rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts in America and abroad; helps to expand and protect the manatee’s winter warm-water habitat; obtains improved boat speed zones in areas frequented by manatees; and raises public awareness.

“I am just thrilled about Save the Manatee Club and the work they are doing,” adds Margaret. “I am so glad there is an organization dedicated just to manatees, who need all the help they can get. I wish the Club the very best in their quest to save manatees from being crushed by the mounting pressures they face.”

For more information on adopting a manatee for Valentine’s Day, visit Save the Manatee Club’s website at www.savethemanatee.org or call (800) 432-JOIN (5646). Also, sign up for the Club’s free e-newsletter, and watch manatees in their natural habitat on the Club’s Blue Spring webcams at manatv.org.

Posted Feb. 13, 2013

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