Walter in Memphis writes...

Below is an email from a WMCTV.COM user about the Memphis manatee:

I have lived around Manatees all of my life (except when I was in
the military). Manatees travel slowly, often near the surface and
frequently come to the surface. I have been able to see manatees in
the muddiest water. After all they are the size of a cow. Their
size is part of the explanation for the American name "sea cow."
Manatee is the East Indian name. I have only one question. How did
the manatee get to Tennessee without any reports of the manatee's
slow travel up the Mississippi? Manatees do not avoid people or
boats. That is why so many are hit by boats. So how did this
manatee make it 720 miles up a well traveled, well fished river,
through densely populated areas without the media picking up a single
report? I could understand it if this were the ocean but it is not.
This is akin to buffalo traveling from Florida to Tennessee on
Interstate 95. Some places it could hide but it is impossible for
the animal to make it that far without being sighted and reported.

In this day and age of environmentalist frenzy someone would have
reported the manatee out of shear delight to see the manatee. If not
that then reported it over fear of manatee's injury on the river. I
cannot believe that everyone who would have seen the animal between
Florida and Tennessee would have been silent. There are
environmentalist that do nothing but watch the river, thousands of
people who work every day on the river, people who live on the
river, hundreds of thousands of people who go to the river for
recreation, and not one of them reported the manatee's progress up
the river. I believe that this is more unlikely than the manatee
getting there in the first place.

If there are reports I would like to know about them. Fishermen are
curious and would have followed up on any sightings. It is easy to
follow and identify a manatee in its slow meanderings up the river.
If there isn't a series of reported sightings of the manatee coming
up the river I would have a very hard time believing that this
manatee got there by itself. It wouldn't be the first time
environmentalists have been willing to fraudulently place an animal
where it doesn't belong for publicity.

Like the name sake cow, the easiest way to get a manatee to return
to any place is to feed it there. Feed the manatee long enough and
it will come back to where it was fed. It has been proven a manatee
will come back to the place it is fed even if dies there. This was
done in Jacksonville Florida by "Save the Manatees." at a power
plant. When the warm water discharge was mitigate (cooled) the
manatees died when the water got too cold. I wonder is anyone
feeding this manatee?

Publicity is the backbone of environmentalists' donation drives. I
suspect there is a donation drive for this manatee in Tennessee and
elsewhere right now. These publicity stunts kill many animals before
they are successful. How many manatees died in transit or after
arrival but were never seen? Why is this manatee in such stress? The
reported water temperature is not too cold. Being around people does
not stress a manatee. We share the waterways with manatees. No
matter how illegal, people go up to manatees, give fresh water to
manatees, feed manatees, and even swim with the manatees all the
time. Someone needs to be investigating this to be certain this is
not a publicity stunt.

If we are going to protect the manatee we must thoroughly
investigate how the manatee got there before we donate a dime to the
organizations that are most likely to be responsible for the manatee
being in danger in the first place.