As you've seen in your studies, migration is risky business for every
species. Animals face many challenges and dangers along their way, ranging
from natural risks like weather, predators, disease and lack of food,
to the multitude of risks and challenges presented by humans.
Manatees face all
these risks. And as our scientists have reported, manatees are sometimes
found sick or injured. But what do you think scientists watch for to determine
if a manatee might be sick or injured?
Ranger Wayne is in
a unique position at Blue Spring to be able to see manatees up close.
But how does he know when a manatee is sick? Afterall, a big part of the
manatee's time at Blue Spring is slowed, as they are resting in the warm
Everyday as Ranger
Wayne takes attendance, he also take notes. He watches each manatee's
behavior. He's always careful to watch for any changes. Look over his
health checklist below, and listen to his descriptions of things he watches
for in the manatees
Wayne's Health Checklist for Manatees:
Some times it's very clear that a manatee has been injured. Things
to watch for are fresh wounds from boat propellers or skegs, or wounds
on flippers from entanglement in monofilament line or other lines.
Look of Emaciation:
When a manatee appears to have not been eating, this is a sign of
ill health. Ranger Wayne indicates he's seen several that appear
to be starving, or "caved in". And examination later has
confirmed they were very sick.
in Shallow Waters and Not Moving:
Ranger Wayne has also seen manatees that have stayed in shallow
waters for a long time period, such as side creeks. The manatees
laying in these shallow waters have come here because they basically
don't need to move very much to survive. For instance, in the shallow
water they can just lift their heads to breathe, instead of swimming
up to the surface repeatedly.
Hear Ranger Wayne:
Describe his observations
2) What does Ranger
Wayne say about manatees in shallow water?
At Blue Spring Ranger Wayne has seen manatees eating clay along the
banks of the run, sometime to the point that their entire feces is
clay. This may be a sign the Manatee is not feeling well.
in the Run After Other Manatees Have Left
When the River has warmed up, the Manatees at Blue Spring usually
leave the Run and head out into the River. So when one stays behind
in the Run during very warm weather, it's not a good sign.
to Ranger Wayne's comments about:
What does it mean when a manatee eats clay, or when one manatee
Write a paragraph about what it is like for you to be sick. Try to address
these questions in your paragraph:
How do you know
when you're sick?
What are some of the symptoms you've had?
What do you do to take care of yourself when you are sick?
Are there certain foods you like to eat or drink when you are sick?
Are there certain foods that you don't want to eat when you're sick?
Do you like to be left alone, or do you like to be near others?
What do you remember about seeing a Doctor?
Did the Doctor ask you a lot of questions?
2. Now write a paragraph
about someone else in your family who was sick, such as your brother or
sister or your pet. Try to address these questions in your paragraph:
What were some
signs that showed you they were not feeling well?
Write about what you would tell to an adult, or a doctor or a veterinarian
about why you think your brother or sister or pet is sick. List your
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