What can one say about the lack of stewardship we consumers insist upon?
By the way, Dugongs and Manatees are not Sea Cows. They are close relatives to the elephant.
The Sea Cow is extinct.
Exerpt from Wikipedia.org:
By 1768, less than 30 years after it had been discovered, Steller’s Sea Cow was extinct.
Dugong are hunted for food throughout their wildlife range, usually for their meat and blubber. Also, the seagrass beds which the dugong depend on for food are threatened by eutrophication caused by agricultural and industrial runoff. Due to their shallow water feeding habits, dugong are frequently injured or killed by collisions with motor vessels. Because of their large size, they do not have many natural predators. They only have large ones such as sharks, killer whales, and saltwater crocodiles.
All three species of manatees are listed by the World Conservation Union as vulnerable to extinction, and the current main threat to manatees in the United States is being struck with boats or slashed through with their propellers. Sometimes manatees can live through strikes, and up to 50+ deep slashes and permanent scars have been observed on some manatees off the Florida coast. However, many times the wounds are fatal, and the lungs may even pop out through the chest cavity . It is illegal under Florida law to cause the manatees harm, up to and including death.
Although manatees have no natural predators, they occasionally ingest fishing gear (hooks, metal weights, etc.) while feeding. These foreign materials do not seem to harm manatees, except for monofilament line or string. This can get clogged in the animal’s digestive system and slowly kill the animal.
Manatees can also be crushed in water control structures (navigation locks, flood gates, etc.), drown in pipes and culverts, and are occasionally killed from entanglement in fishing gear, primarily crab pot float lines. Manatees are also vulnerable to red tides, blooms of algae which leach oxygen from the water.
Manatees were commonly hunted for their meat by natives of the Caribbean, although this is much less common today.
On June 8, 2006, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to reclassify the manatee on Florida’s list, to a “threatened” status in that state. While none of the state laws protecting manatees have changed, many wildlife conservationists are not pleased with the removal decision. Manatees remain classified as “endangered” at the federal level.
While humans are allowed to swim with manatees in one area of Florida, there have been numerous charges of Americans harrassing and disturbing the manatees in various ways, in addition to the concern about repeated motorboat strikes causing the maiming, disfiguration and death of manatees all across the Florida coast, and this priviledge of swimming with wild manatees may be soon repealed.
The population of manatees in Florida is thought to be between 2,000 and 3,000, yet population estimates are difficult. The number of manatee deaths in Florida caused by humans has been increasing through the years, and now typically accounts for 20%-40% of recorded manatee deaths. In 2006 there were registered confirmed near 100 manatees in Florida killed by human activity, the majority of these, that happened to be discovered by Florida Fish and Wildlife, have been caused by boat strikes.