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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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West Indian Manatee

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First Place - Underwater - Professional, National Wildlife Awards

WEST INDIAN MANATEE

Crystal River, Florida, USA

by Todd Pusser

Aberdeen, North Carolina, USA

“While snorkeling in the clear, shallow waters of the Crystal River, a large shadow passed overhead. Looking up, I saw the silhouette of a manatee swimming quietly near the surface. I managed to take two shots before I had to come up for air.” Manatees can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh about 1,200 pounds. Florida manatees do not live in the same place all year. When it is warm, they move into the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico to eat sea grasses. In winter, they must move to a spring, a place where warm water (72 degrees) comes up out of the ground.

Canon EOS Elan IIE; 15mm lens; Fujichrome Provia 100; Ikelite underwater housing.

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