Manatee adoptions make precious Valentine's Day gifts wherever you live, and through Save the Manatee Club's Adopt-A-Manatee programs, people get to select one or more adoptees from 35 real manatees living in the wild or at a rehabilitation facility in Florida.
Teresa Cameron, who teaches at an elementary school in Northern Alberta, Canada, has adopted manatees from the Club for her classrooms through the years on numerous occasions, including Valentine's Day. She says her classes think it's exciting to be adoptive parents of such a cool creature on the other side of the continent.
"I want to raise awareness for a unique endangered species that needs our help," says Teresa. "I also like to teach my students that they can still care for animals who live far away from them."
Tax-deductible gift adoptions from Save the Manatee Club cost $25 and include a biography and adoption certificate featuring the manatee selected. See photos and a list of the manatees available for adoption on the Club's website at www.savethemanatee.org/adoptees.htm. Also included is a membership handbook filled with photos, facts and information, subscriptions to the Club's official quarterly newsletter, The Manatee Zone, and the bi-monthly e-newsletter, Paddle Tales, and a year's membership in Save the Manatee Club.
A personalized Valentine's Day gift card comes with each adoption, and postage is free within the United States. Add an additional $10 to adoptions mailed to all countries outside the United States. A heart-shaped manatee ornament, perfect for Valentine's Day, is included with every gift adoption of $35 or more, while they last.
Save the Manatee Club is an international nonprofit conservation and manatee welfare organization co-founded in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett specifically to raise the public's awareness about manatees and to get the public involved in manatee conservation efforts.
"2013 has been the deadliest year ever for Florida's manatees, with unprecedented losses from exposure to a toxic red tide bloom in southwest Florida, and an unusual mortality event linked to algal blooms on the east coast," said Patrick Rose, the Club's executive director. "When we see an increase in manatee deaths, a big part of our job is to immediately ratchet up our education and outreach efforts to ensure that the public is aware of the many challenges we face and the part people can play in helping us protect the manatees and their aquatic habitat."
The manatee population is estimated to be about 5,000 concentrated year-round in Florida. Human-related manatee deaths predominantly from boat strikes typically account for the largest number of deaths where cause is known. Save the Manatee Club works to safeguard manatees by assisting with rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts in America and abroad; helps to expand and protect the manatee's winter warm-water habitat; obtains improved boat speed zones in areas frequented by manatees; and raises public awareness.
For more information on adopting a manatee for Valentine's Day, visit Save the Manatee Club's website at www.savethemanatee.org, or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646). Also, sign up for the Club's free e-newsletter at savethemanatee.org/signup, and watch manatees in their natural habitat on the Club's Blue Spring webcams at www.manatv.org .