The endangered West Indian manatee, or Trichechus manatus, swims along the Southeast coast and parts of the Caribbean. Found in salt, brackish and freshwater, the animal can grow to be more than 9 feet long and weigh more than 1,000 pounds.
The animal’s numbers declined due to hunting, as their fat was popular for oils and their hides for leather. Today, the propellers of speed are the greatest threat to the mantees. Less than 5,000 manatees are thought to be alive today.