|Brian J. Skerry photo|
If you know me at all, you know I love manatees and try to raise some money for the protection of these endangered animals at least once a year.
The West Indian (Florida) Manatee was once plentiful around the coast of Florida, but now its survival as a species is in jeopardy. Humans are the gentle herbivores’ only enemy, with our fishing lines ensnaring them, our pollution poisoning them, our boats striking them and our living space encroaching upon theirs. Heather Sellick of the US Scuba Center wrote “the manatee is one of the most magnificent marine mammals...it is also the one that tugs at our heart strings and reminds us of the great damage humans have inflicted on the creatures with whom we share this planet.”
Right now, a persistant red tide is wreaking havoc on Florida manatees. Although some red tides are entirely natural, others appear to be a result of increased nutrient loading from human activities. Red tide acts as a neurotoxin which can kill manatees without human intervention.
With manatees dying from red tide at a rate of as many as 10 per day, along with the usual threats of motor boats, fishing lines and cold stress, there is a lot of rescuing and attempted rescuing going on. Fortunately, some manatees are being found in time and transported by trained biologists to critical care centers where they can receive medical treatment until they are well enough to be released into the wild. While the red tide persists, the rescued animals can not go back to the wild where they may be sickened again. Right now, according to the Save the Manatee Club, emergency funds are urgently needed for the care and feeding of the rescued manatees. A 1,000-pound manatee needs to eat 100-150 pounds of food each day.
This is where you come in: Starting today, 30% of your purchase price on any items you select from my Etsy shop or my web store will go to the emergency rescue fund of the Save the Manatee Club. This will continue through April 15. If you don’t see any vintage finery to suit you during these three weeks, I encourage you to donate directly to the Save the Manatee Club here. My goal is to raise $500...enough for a decent amount of greens for the rescued manatees!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead