Thursday, 21 July 2011

Manatee Muddle

As i continue to get this blog going i want to keep stressing the idea of "accidental nature". Showing how humans are constantly creating habitat for wildlife without intention. I love how this displays the resilience of nature. Yesterday I talked about something really mundane, woodworm, its an everyday story, but very relevant to accidental nature. Today, I'm going to show accidental nature doesn't have to be mundane - it can be very exotic.

Over the last few decades Florida has been draining water from freshwater springs to feed its ever growing human population. And urbainsation has been blocking access to others too. Some of these springs are warm water springs, the destination of Florida's manatee population come winter. They need these warm waters to survive the cold winter months, and will die if they can't find them. As the Springs have been drained, Mantee's have suffered, at least they did until they worked out somewhere else to go for warm water - the out flows of the local power stations. Here, water that has been used as part of the cooling process is discharged into local rivers. In 2005 up to 60% of Manatees were using these warm waters to get through the winter. A very happy accident for the Manatees.

But it is not all good news, not by a long way. The Manatees have to travel further to get to their feeding grounds from here and so spend longer times in cold water and are more likely to get hit by boats. The best solution would be to re-instate the warm water springs, but for the time being that looks unlikely and the accidental jacuzzi's created by the power stations are very important to them. Its a case of taking with one hand and giving with the other here. A real Manatee muddle.

For the story in full check out this weblink:

No comments: