Orphaned manatees

Not related to any other creatures, even dolphins or whales, manatees are river dwelling creatures that are now endangered as a result of hunting. They look a little like seals, or in the description Mark has heard, more like travelling cases for seals. They have very long front flippers, adapted from the forearm, which they use to walk along the river bed. They spend most of their time slowly munching on grass on the river bed. Vera do Silva looks after these Amazonian manatees and shows Mark and Stephen the babies kept in seperate tanks at the research centre. The babies have the telltale marks of ropes and machete cuts where they have been used as bait by hunters to capture and kill the adults. These babies are receiving round the clock attention and will be studied before being released back into the wild.

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