America's Great Outdoors
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, was established in 1983 specifically for the protection of the endangered West Indian Manatee. This unique refuge preserves the last unspoiled and undeveloped habitat in Kings Bay, which forms the headwaters of the Crystal River. The refuge preserves the warm water spring havens, which provide critical habitat for the manatee populations that migrate here each winter.This manatee is sleeping in shallow water in order to benefit from the sun’s radiant heat on his back, while submerged in the springs 72 F degree waters. During the cold spells, most manatees prefer resting in shallow water for this reason.Photo: David Hinkel

The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, was established in 1983 specifically for the protection of the endangered West Indian Manatee. This unique refuge preserves the last unspoiled and undeveloped habitat in Kings Bay, which forms the headwaters of the Crystal River. The refuge preserves the warm water spring havens, which provide critical habitat for the manatee populations that migrate here each winter.

This manatee is sleeping in shallow water in order to benefit from the sun’s radiant heat on his back, while submerged in the springs 72 F degree waters. During the cold spells, most manatees prefer resting in shallow water for this reason.

Photo: David Hinkel

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