Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brrrrrr Manatees Are Cold In Florida

Record Cold Temps Keep Manatees Huddled
at Warm Water Refuges
Manatees overflow the refuge boundaries at Three Sisters Springs during Florida's cold snap.
"There were so many manatees they were spilling over the boundaries of the refuge," said photographer David R. Schrichte, who took this picture at Three Sisters Springs during the recent cold snap in Florida. (Photo © David R. Schrichte)

At the beginning of the year, the weather turned cold in Florida, — brr! — resulting in freezing temperatures at night and during the early morning hours. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Key West recorded a record low of 42 °F (6 °C), and snow and sleet were even reported across Florida, which is a very rare event for the state. The unusually chilly temperatures lasted for nearly two weeks and brought manatees in droves to Blue Spring State Park and other warm water refuges around the state.

You might wonder how a mammal that averages 800 to 1,200 pounds could get cold, but they do. In spite of their size, manatees have relatively little body fat, and their metabolic rate is low compared to other marine mammals. These factors may account, in part, for their susceptibility to cold temperatures. “When manatees experience temperatures below 20 ° C (68 ° F) for long periods of time, they can develop a potentially fatal condition called cold stress syndrome,” says Dr. Katie Tripp, Director of Science and Conservation for Save the Manatee Club. “During prolonged periods of cold weather, manatees must choose between remaining at the warm water refuge and being hungry or enduring the cold water to go forage. Eating and digesting food helps manatees produce heat, but in the coldest situations they will often not venture from the warm water site. Manatees are faced with really difficult choices during these cold periods.”

Ranger Wayne Hartley records manatee counts at Blue Spring.
Ranger Wayne Hartley records the number of manatees using the spring run at Blue Spring State Park. (Photo by Marcy Taylor, SMC)

There was concern that manatees would be able to access warm water refuges during the chilly temperatures. In early January, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) put out a news release asking boaters to avoid areas where large numbers of manatees were gathered, such as discharge canals at power plants, canal systems, or springs. At the urging of Save the Manatee Club, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also asked people to stay away from Three Sisters Springs, an important warm water refuge for manatees that is part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. "It was important that manatees at these areas be left alone, because a disturbance could scare them away from the warm water they needed to survive," says Tripp.

During the cold spell, FWC staff reported 300 manatees using the warm water effluent at Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend Power Plant near Apollo Beach, Florida. At Blue Spring State Park, where the water temperature maintains a constant 72 degrees, Ranger Wayne Hartley recorded record numbers for the season. "With a record morning count of 311 one day, we have certainly broken the record of 301 from last season," he said. “The river got down to 45 degrees, which is the lowest I have ever seen."

We were glad to hear from Ranger Wayne that all the adoptees in our Adopt-A-Manatee program had made an appearance this winter at Blue Spring except for Brutus and Troy. Brutus apparently decided to skip Blue Spring and winter instead at Silver Glen Springs, near Salt Springs, Florida. "We discovered that this year because biologist Monica Ross with Sea to Shore Alliance has been taking photos of the manatees at Silver Glen, Salt Spring, and DeLeon Springs," said Ranger Wayne. "Brutus would normally only appear four times the whole season at Blue Spring, so he might have been going to Silver Glen all along."

Hurricane the manatee showing signs of cold stress.
A photo of Hurricane, above, before his rescue, shows the effect of cold stress on manatees. (Photo by Monica Ross, Sea to Shore Alliance)

At the end of December, a manatee named Hurricane was rescued at Silver Glen Springs after he was found to be suffering from cold stress. It was exciting news because Hurricane, released at Blue Spring in February 2008, had lost his transmitter and hadn’t been sighted since July of 2008. “Of course, we want to know where did he winter last year, and where had he been this year to get into the condition he was in,” said biologist Monica Ross, who initially discovered the cold-stressed mammal. “Needless to say, we were happy and sad at the same time since his cold stress looked much worse on land after the rescue.”

After his rescue, Hurricane was transported to SeaWorld of Orlando where he is currently being treated. Other manatees were not so lucky. FWC biologists recently reported a preliminary count of 77 manatee deaths attributed to cold stress that were recorded through January 23rd — a new record — and it is likely that number will increase. Save the Manatee Club has asked waterfront residents, boaters, and other recreational users to be on the lookout for distressed and dead manatees and
report cold-stressed manatees who may be in need of rescue at 1-800-404-FWCC (3922). Coming on top of record mortality figures for manatees in 2009, this is not good news.

On the positive side, Ranger Wayne predicted we might have 23 calves at Blue Spring this year. Both adoptees Lily and Phyllis have new calves, as does a manatee named Huss. “Another manatee I‘ve been watching is Ester, and she’s got a calf, too.” After enduring the cold temperatures and concern for the manatees, this was a welcome update. After all, 23 new calves are enough to make us feel warm all over.

I love the Save The Manatee Club and am personally a huge supporter! I received my first adopted Manatee last year for Valentines Day from my parents and have also adopted one for my younger cousin to put in her scrapbook for Christmas. Please support them as much as you can as they are a wonderful organization and have first handedly helped sway these amazing creatures from extinction! THANKS STMC!!!!



For All Of My American Friends:



Friday, January 22, 2010

Humane Society International Is Now In Haiti!

I Just received this email from the Humane Society International organization:

Dear Nicole,

Haiti email appeal inset HSUSJust after 6 p.m. yesterday, I arrived here in Haiti from across the border -- despite a flat tire, overheated engine, and two aftershocks -- and am seeing firsthand the total devastation left behind in the wake of last week’s earthquake.

Tent cities everywhere are teeming with tens of thousands of people now homeless. Mountains of rubble are all that remain of homes and buildings. And people are terrified of being crushed during the tremors that still rock the country.

And amid all this human suffering, there’s something else: Animals are suffering, too.

The entire nation is overwhelmed by a lack of basic necessities -- adequate food, water, shelter, and medicine. Thankfully, it appears humanitarian aid is reaching the people affected by this disaster.

But the conditions for animals are still deteriorating. In our short time here, I’ve seen cattle wandering through fields and stray dogs by the roads. With food and water in short supply, it is only a matter of time before these animals -- especially the injured -- come under threat of dehydration, starvation, and disease.

Our team of responders from The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International and Veterinary Care & Humane Services, Caribbean Project is now in Port-au-Prince, providing emergency care and treatment to the animal survivors and assessing conditions to help stabilize the situation for them.

We need your help so we can remain on the ground to care for animals. Can you make an emergency donation today?

We are working around the clock to mobilize more teams of responders, to obtain and ship food and supplies, and to coordinate with authorities and other organizations in Haiti. We are doing everything we can to provide immediate support to the animals who survived this disaster, as well as develop ongoing institutional support for Haiti’s animals and their human care-givers in the future.

But we can't do this work without your support. Will you stand by us today -- and during future disasters around the world? We hope you will help by making a special gift now.


Dr. Rebecca Berg, DVM
HSUS/HSI/HSVMA Volunteer Disaster Responder

~There are many groups in Haiti right now such as IFAW, WSPA and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary! Please donate what you can to support the animals who are in desperate need at this time!

Thank you!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Earth Hour 2010!!!

The date has been set and the clock is now ticking................March 27th from 8:30-9:30pm will mark the 60 minutes the world will turn off their lights in a combined effort to not only save electricity and carbon emissions but to send a very strong and powerful message to each of our governments stating that we will no longer accept the lame excuses that are put forth each year in response to global warming! Mark your calendars today and keep an eye out for the countless events and workshops that will be taking place that day to celebrate another year of climate action. Voice your concerns and let it be known that we will not stop until we get what we need and want!! The planet will thank you! Please watch the video below; it gives me goosebumps every time I see it!


Friday, January 15, 2010

The Cove = A Very Insightful Movie

If you are going to watch one movie this weekend please make it "The Cove". I went last night to Bob Timmons' first movie showing of the year at the University of Toronto's HartHouse and I have to say it was a great success and a very moving experience. Close to 60 people showed up to watch the documentary which turned out to be a fast paced espionage type of film which opened my eyes to the dolphin slaughter that happens each year from September to April in Taiji Japan. You might have heard a lot about this yearly killing a couple of years ago when celebs Hayden Panettiere and Isabel Lucas travelled to Japan and got into a confrontation with the Taiji fisherman while praying atop of their surfboards in the cove used to murder the dolphins! Unfortunately Hayden and Isabel were arrested and had to flee Japan before prosecution which means they now cannot return to the country.

Last nights showing raised a total of $282CAD which will be directly sent to which will continue to protest the slaughter of these highly intelligent and beautiful creatures. Please visit Bobs site for more information on how you can help and to view his beautiful ocean artwork. He truly is amazing!!


A Program For Winners

A Program For Winners

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Celebs Spread The Word!

Two of the most beautiful celebrities on the planet have spoken out this past week on how simple decisions in their life are helping to save the planet from destruction!

When asked what she does on the internet during an interview with Self Magazine Jessica stated that she's "bought 70 percent of my house off CraigsList! I’ve found so many things: couches, tables, lamps. I love the idea of recycling furniture and there being a history there.”

Also, my girl crush at the moment - Gossip Girl's Blake Lively - recently revealed through Esquire magazine that to accomodate the shooting schedule last fall for Ben Afflecks "The Town", she took the Amtrak from Penn Stattion up to Boston on the weekends. Good on her for skipping the private jets and choosing a more environmentally friendly mode of travel! Thanks Blake and Jessica for promoting various eco ways to live!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Cove Viewing This Thursday!

I want to promote a great event that is taking place this Thursday (January 14th) at 7pm. Hosted by a local Torontonian environmental artist Bob Timmons.

" Bob Timmons - Artist For The Ocean " is starting to have an Ocean Movie of Concern Every Month Starting With "The Cove"


January 14th, 2010
University Of Toronto's Hart House
Debates Room
7:00pm to 10:00pm

Bob Timmons will be speaking about organizations like Oceanic Defense that are involved with Taiji Bay, Japan and what is happening currently at Ground Zero and will be showing an actual Video.

And Words by video From Samantha Whitcraft Director of Research & Biology from Oceanic Defense of what they are doing to help change the direction of Taiji Bay, Japan.

I will be attending and I hope you will too! See you there!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jacob is still waiting.........

*Jacob with his bird friends*

Uggh I am so frustrated! Apparently Jacob has had many inquires from individuals and families wanting to adopt him however many have been declined because it is a total impulse adoption for them and others have been approved. Unfortunately I haven't received any calls and we have to assume that the callers ran over to their mall and either bought a kitten or adopted elsewhere. I feel so bad for the little guy! Although he is getting lots of love and attention from me I know the longer he stays in my house the harder it will be for him to get adopted due to the fact that larger black kittens and cats are very hard to find homes for! Lets hope I receive a call soon from his future furrever home in the next few days!!