Roger Reep and Robert Bonde, veteran researchers with 45 years' experience between them, have created an instantly engaging, accessible tale of the mysterious manatee for professionals and interested lay people alike. Having played integral roles in many of the research efforts discussed in the book, Reep and Bonde humanize the sometimes difficult-to-grasp characteristics of manatee biology, their relation to the environment, and the biopolitics that result from the intersection of science and wildlife management. They weave fact with real-life scenarios to explain what science has learned about this unusual animal - from microorganisms that cause manatee die-offs during red tide blooms to the complexity of long-distance migrations to the curiosities of manatee physiology. The evolutionary basis of the sirenian language (how manatees communicate with each other) is also revealed. Technological innovations and conservation efforts since the landmark protection legislation of the early 1970s are also central to the manatee story. Captive rehabilitation, radio tracking, and advanced boating regulations are discussed as methods to ensure manatee survival. Reep and Bonde argue that increasing interaction between man and manatee, most notably through the shared use of waterways, makes ongoing scientific research essential if successful coexistence is to be possible.
The Florida Manatee