Manatees – Potato Sirens

Manatees – Potato Sirens

ambience: manatee underwater vocalizations

What’s got the face of a walrus – minus the tusks, the tail of a beaver, and a body that sort of looks like an enormous Idaho potato? One more clue: We’re listening to their sounds, recorded underwater. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

We’re at Homosassa State Park, on Florida’s West Coast, about 80 miles north of Tampa, and we’re listening to the sounds of manatees, recorded underwater.

Rose: The headwaters of Homosassa springs flow millions of gallons of water. It becomes a warm water refuge in winter time which attracts manatees that have to stay warm. The temperature stays at 72 degrees year round.

Pat Rose is an aquatic biologist and the executive director of the Save the Manatee Club.

Rose: A manatee is a marine mammal. It certainly breathes air, and has live young of course. It’s in the order Sirenia, and there’s only a few reps in the world today. One species went extinct, the stellar sea cow, in less than 27 years of being hunted. Manatees are found of course here in Florida, through the Caribbean, in West Africa and in South America.

Manatees were originally endangered from hunting and literally taking them for hides and food until they were reduced to very low numbers . And in some places – throughout the islands, they were extirpated completely from those locations. In Florida there was a population, probably somewhere under 1000. Today with a lot of work a lot of effort we’re up to 5000, but they’re continually under different threats.

We’ll hear about some of the threats to the manatees survival in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

Manatees - Potato Sirens

What's got the face of a walrus, the tail of a beaver, and a body that resembles an enormous potato?
Air Date:04/26/2016
Scientist:
Transcript:

Manatees - Potato Sirens

ambience: manatee underwater vocalizations

What's got the face of a walrus - minus the tusks, the tail of a beaver, and a body that sort of looks like an enormous Idaho potato? One more clue: We're listening to their sounds, recorded underwater. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

We're at Homosassa State Park, on Florida's West Coast, about 80 miles north of Tampa, and we're listening to the sounds of manatees, recorded underwater.

Rose: The headwaters of Homosassa springs flow millions of gallons of water. It becomes a warm water refuge in winter time which attracts manatees that have to stay warm. The temperature stays at 72 degrees year round.

Pat Rose is an aquatic biologist and the executive director of the Save the Manatee Club.

Rose: A manatee is a marine mammal. It certainly breathes air, and has live young of course. It's in the order Sirenia, and there's only a few reps in the world today. One species went extinct, the stellar sea cow, in less than 27 years of being hunted. Manatees are found of course here in Florida, through the Caribbean, in West Africa and in South America.

Manatees were originally endangered from hunting and literally taking them for hides and food until they were reduced to very low numbers . And in some places - throughout the islands, they were extirpated completely from those locations. In Florida there was a population, probably somewhere under 1000. Today with a lot of work a lot of effort we're up to 5000, but they're continually under different threats.

We'll hear about some of the threats to the manatees survival in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.