Defenders of Wildlife

Saving the Sea Cow

By the time I saw my first manatee, I was eleven and already in love with the gentle giants. A mother and her calf were feeding off a dock, and as I stretched my small arms to reach them I knew how critical protecting this species really was.

By the time I saw my first manatee, I was eleven and already in love with the gentle giants. A mother and her calf were feeding off a dock, and as I stretched my small arms to reach them I knew how critical protecting this species really was.

Throughout my childhood, each year my family vacationed in southern Florida. Everyday I would run to the docks of a marina and wait impatiently for the manatees. Sometimes I would lay there for hours withstanding bug bites and sun burn to watch them chew barnacles, or just surface slowly during their afternoon naps. 10 years later I even swam with many manatees in the wild, realizing their gentle nature was something so rare and unique in this world.

I began my quest to help these creatures in seventh grade when I gave away "Adopt-a-Manatee" packages as gifts to my friends. I was even known as "Save the Whales Sara" in high school because of my infectious passion for sea mammals. There is something truly magical about seeing your first endangered species. It is humbling, and wonderous, and inspiring.

I urge our law-makers not to let tales like this one become just another children's story. I hope that in the future our children will share real experiences with these gentle giants and with other species who add so much to our precious ecosystems, our national heritage, and the biological diversity of our planet.

 

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