|Lots of young manatee. They stay with momma for up to two years.|
|Injured manatees are given a tracking device when they are returned to the water.|
They are also harmed by fertilizer runoff and plastic. Plastic is a problem because they are unable to digest it and it will block their intestines. There is a bill in the Florida legislature right now that would allow local jurisdictions to ban plastic bags. Unfortunately, the retailers and bag makers are fighting this quite reasonable idea. I was somewhat ambivalent about the paper/plastic choice until a few years ago when we spent a week in Corpus Christie, TX. I was appalled at the number of plastic bags we saw littering the landscape, something one would never say about paper bags. Paper bags do of course end up as litter also, but they don’t blow around in the wind and cause the death of many birds and animals. When I visited Texas two years ago, I saw that several of the coastal towns now do prohibit their use which has made a huge visual change to the region. I hope Florida will follow suit. I also have hopes that Vancouver and Clark County will do the same although I have doubts that our current set of county councilors will do so since they are more focused on levying a litter tax on the local newspaper. They claim this has nothing to do with the fact that the Columbian keeps pointing out their myriad foibles or as they editor says, “They keep doing stupid stuff.”
|Notice the tiny mouth|
We also spent some time examining the historic Louis Thursby house built in the 1870s atop an Indian midden. A midden is really a garbage pile of mostly shells left behind over the centuries by the local Indians. For the first several decades the Thursbys was a major stop for steamboats plying the Johns River which is navigable from Jacksonville to Orlando. The advent of the railroad eventually put an end to steamboat traffic and the state purchased the land as a park to protect the area for the manatees.
|The Thursby House|
|The elusive Florida Scrub Jay|