When paddling along the Weeki Wachee river in Florida, you could expect to see dozens of fish and birds that call the river home – as well as a few ‘mermaids’ at the nearby tourist attraction.
But among the rarest of sights along the stretch of water is the endangered West Indian manatees, unless you’re this pair of lucky paddle boarders.
Tyler and Lauren were leisurely making their way down the river on Saturday with paddle board company Sup Weeki, when this group of ten inquisitive manatees swam directly underneath them.
‘We don’t see manatee every time people go out here – and I always tell people they’re lucky to see one. These folks got to see ten all at once!’
Manatees are known as ‘sea cows’ because of their similar size, peaceful temperament and diet of plants and weeds.
While they have no natural predators, they were badly affected by human hunting until they became protected once their numbers declined.
Now on the rebound, they still face being killed by boar propellers after swimming too close, or by being tangled in fishing nets.
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