West Indian manatee facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

The West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) or "sea cow" is a manatee. It is the largest living member of the order Sirenia (which also includes dugongs and the extinct Steller's sea cow).

The West Indian manatee is a different species from the Amazonian manatee (T. inunguis) and the African manatee (T. senegalensis). The West Indian manatee is in two subspecies, the Florida manatee (T. m. latirostris) and the Antillean or Caribbean manatee (T. m. manatus). New research shows that there may be three groups:

  1. Florida and the Greater Antilles
  2. Mexico, Central America and northern South America
  3. Northeastern South America.

The Florida manatee and the Antillean manatee are endangered. Federal, state, private, and nonprofit organizations are working to protect these species from natural and human threats, such as collisions with boat propeller blades.

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West Indian manatee Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.