Tourists in Kings Bay, Florida, have the unique opportunity to observe manatees in their natural environment. During the winter, around 500 sea cows gather in a safeguarded estuary in search of warm water, and visitors are permitted to see the animals during this time, according to McClatchy Newspapers.
Typically swimming with manatees is banned in Florida, because the creatures are endangered animals
. However, during this time of year visits are permitted as long as the tourists are accompanied by a guide.
However, the opportunity to see these mammals up close may soon come to an end. Following a bout of cold temperatures in the region in 2010, which resulted in the death of many manatees, some animal rights activists are urging politicians to ban commercial “swim-with” programs in locations like King’s Bay.
Michael Lusk, manager of the refugee center, stated last year that plans were in the works to give further protection to the creatures.
According to SaveTheManatee.org, the creatures are typically found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, saltwater bays, canals and various other bodies of water. They are migratory, and have been spotted as far north as Massachusetts.