Krista the Krazy Kataloguer's Reviews > The Manatee Scientists: The Science of Saving the Vulnerable

The Manatee Scientists by Peter Lourie
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's review
Mar 22, 12

bookshelves: read-childrens-books
Read in March, 2012

This one sucked me right into it from the beginning with those beautiful close-up photos of the manatees. They remind me of playful puppies, and I think they're kind of cute. My favorite picture is near the beginning, showing the manatee swimming upside down--and you can see its bellybutton!! Lourie describes three different efforts by three different scientific groups to study manatees in Florida, the Amazon, and West Africa. I didn't know there were that many species. The one that we know the most about is the Florida manatee, not because it lives off U.S. waters but because its habitat makes it easy to see and therefore study. The manatees of the Amazon live in waters so murky that scientists seldom see much more than a nose and a couple of nostrils sticking up out of the water. The only way to study these manatees is to capture them and tag them with a radio transmitter, and follow their movements. The African manatee likewise is not well studied, because efforts to do so have been scattered, with no coordination of information between researchers. All three species are in the vulnerable category of endangerment. In Africa and the South America manatees are eaten, and you can't blame people who are so desperate for protein. Lourie discusses efforts to protect the manatees, who reproduce at the rate of only one pup every 2 to 4 (depending on the species) years. With that kind of reproductive rate, they could easily be wiped out before they could repopulate themselves, if we don't do something. This book is another winner in the Scientists in the Field series, and highly recommended!
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