Save the Manatee Club’s Three Decades of Conservation Work
By Patrick Rose, Aquatic Biologist, Executive Director
This year, Save the Manatee Club is celebrating the milestone of its 30-year history. We are an award-winning 501c3 national nonprofit conservation organization, established in 1981 by legendary singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. Our mission is to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat for future generations.
To accomplish our mission, we work closely with federal, state, and local governments, as well as with the public at the grass roots level, and support policies based on the best scientific data available. We raise public awareness; educate; sponsor research, rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts; support land acquisition; promote aquatic habitat protection; advocate for improved protection measures, and support education and conservation efforts in other countries.
Without doubt, the manatee’s status has improved in many ways because of the Club’s steadfast conservation work. Not many people had heard about the manatee’s plight thirty years ago. Now, largely due to our public awareness efforts, manatees are loved around the world, and their world is a great deal safer. In the early 1980’s, for instance, there was little protection for manatees on Florida’s waterways. Today, with the Club’s help and strong advocacy, protections have been established for those waters where manatees were at very high risk of being accidentally struck by watercraft. Having been a boater, fisherman, and diver for most of my 60 years, I also take comfort in knowing that these protection measures make it safer for boaters, too, as well as for other recreational users.
I am reminded daily that by protecting manatees and their aquatic habitat, the conservation of numerous other species of invertebrates, fish, birds, mammals, and aquatic plants reliant on the same habitat will be positively affected, both biologically and politically. The ultimate benefit to us is the preservation of our own quality of life.
We’ve come a long way, but there’s much more to be done before the manatee population’s long-term survival is assured. To read more about our work, and to make a donation, visit us at www.savethemanatee.org. Once there, you can also find information about how to safely boat in manatee habitat. We also offer free public awareness banners for boaters. Thanks so much for keeping a lookout for manatees while boating in Florida.