Manatee Guides Trailer Wrap

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Manatees all over a huge trailer? You can thank Tim Martell of Manatee Guides for the concept of using three of my large-format photographs. I think this comes under the heading of “Only In Florida”. Here is what I’m talking about and I understand it has become quite the conversation piece in and around Ft. Myers, Florida. Trailer photos are courtesy Manatee Guides.

Manatees, Manatee Guides, trailer wrap, kayaks, left side,

Manatees, Manatee Guides, trailer wrap, kayaks,

Late in 2012, Tim contacted me with the idea of wrapping his kayak trailer in three of my manatee photographs with inserts of topside pictures he took during his tours. I was very impressed with the design company’s mock-up and we worked it out for me to license him three of my manatee images to use. These are the original photographs he chose: Continue reading

Something’s Fishy In The Springs

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Manatees gather together in the wintertime at various warm water sites around Florida. Some of these manatees frequent natural freshwater springs. Fish also enjoy congregating near the outflows of spring water. It is here that manatees and a number of fish species share the same watery real estate until the weather warms and manatees spread out again. While together in the springs fish often surround manatees as illustrated in this photograph:

Fish Gather Around A Manatee In The SpringsFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. A manatee floats near a warm blue spring and submerged tree roots surrounded by fish, bream, Lepomis spp. and a mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus. The manatee is tolerating the bream fish attention as it is the price to pay for sharing the warm waters. Bream target dermis and dead skin on the manatee. Vertical orientation with blue water and light rays. Undisturbed, natural behavior. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Interaction between fish and manatees is an interesting behavior to observe. In fact some fish, particularly bream also known as sunfish (Lepomis spp.) and sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) are known to continually surround and peck at the manatee’s skin especially while they are resting. Note the bream below are nipping this manatee:

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Manatees: Hope Springs Eternal

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November is Manatee Awareness Month in Florida. For over 30 years proclamations have been officially made to help protect this endangered marine mammal and Florida treasure.

This November is different though, as a sense of foreboding blankets the future of the sirenians here in Florida. This year, 2013 has seen the highest mortality of manatees since record keeping began = 766 manatee deaths as of October 25, 2013 and 769 currently according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission records. Of these, 276 manatees died where red tide was prevalent in southwest Florida. Additionally, in this Florida Fish and Wildlife preliminary report an unusually high number of “Undetermined” manatee deaths were reported near the Indian River Lagoon on Florida’s east coast. It is thought to be part of a serious toxic imbalance along with a significant loss of seagrass beds, part of the manatee’s main food source.

Manatees: Hope Springs EternalFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. A series of manatees gathering near the warm springs during the bitter cold period of early January 2010. Two skinny adult manatees rest as one takes a breath in the warm shallow blue spring water lit by strong warming sun rays. Another manatee forages in the background surrounded by fish, bream, Lepomis spp. Manatees need these natural warm springs to survive cold weather, like today. Horizontal orientation with blue water and strong warming sun rays with reflection. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

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