West Indian manatee mother and baby, Three Sisters Spring, Crystal River, Florida
© Karine Aigner/Tandem Stills + Motio
West Indian manatee mother and baby
Manatees have a fascinating history that spans millions of years. They are closely related to elephants and can be traced back to the Eocene era (about 56 to 33.9 million years ago), making them one of the oldest mammals on Earth. These slow-moving herbivores have, over time, adapted to life in warm, coastal waters. Known for their friendly demeanor and unique whiskered faces, these sleepy creatures have always been welcoming towards humans. Sadly, they have been exposed to various threats, such as habitat loss and boat collisions, due to which raising awareness has become essential. So, if you visit Crystal River and come across a West Indian manatee, we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate them, but from a distance.