Manatees, also known as sea cows and gentle giants, can weigh up to a thousand pounds and live mostly on water plants. I photographed this one in Florida at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge last March. They are concentrated in Florida during the winter and are very friendly around humans, as I witnessed myself on this trip. The manatee population has rebounded in recent years primarily due to conservation efforts. Legend has it that when Christopher Columbus first saw a manatee on his sail to the New World, he thought they were mermaids. I don’t know about you, but I think he was on the boat a little too long!