There are 4 species of Manatee, one in West Africa, one in the Caribbean from the south-eastern United States to northern South America and one in the estuaries of the Orinoco and the Amazon.



Manatees have few enemies other than alligators and humans and yet the South American, West Indian, and West African species are listed vulnerable by the IUCN. They have been killed for their flesh and hides by the local peoples for centuries but in the last decade or so have been protected by law in several places in tropical America, and at the beginning of 2020, Save The Manatee reported that there were only 371 manatees left.

Another threat to manatees today comes from the outboard motors of speedboats, as they tend to swim at propeller depth and cannot move quickly enough to get out of the way. Many serious injuries are caused by propellers.

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