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USPS dedicates its Save Manatees stamp

The release aims to raise awareness of threats to the marine mammal

A West Indian manatee swims underwater.
This 2023 image shows a manatee at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, FL.

The Postal Service marked Manatee Appreciation Day on March 27 by dedicating its Save Manatees stamp in Silver Springs, FL — home to the sort of clear, warm springs that the marine mammals frequent.

Manatees are large and gray with flat, paddle-shaped tails.

They have two flippers — each with three or four nails — and their faces are wrinkled, with a whiskered snout. Their closest land relative is the elephant.

Manatees are considered one of Florida’s keystone species whose behavior can alert researchers to environmental and habitat changes that may otherwise go unnoticed in the state’s waterways for extended periods of time.

“This adorable stamp will increase awareness and hopefully encourage people to learn how they can help save manatees, too,” said Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club and one of the speakers at the dedication ceremony.

Within the United States, manatees are concentrated in Florida in the winter.

During the summer months, they can be found as far west as Texas and as far north as Massachusetts, but sightings in the southern states are more common. The animals prefer shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals and coastal areas — particularly where seagrass beds or freshwater vegetation flourish.

Florida manatees were first protected under state law in 1893 and are covered by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. On a federal level, they are protected by both the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. 

Manatees were reclassified from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2017.

Despite these legal protections, manatees still face considerable threats. They are often accidentally hit by motorboats in increasingly crowded waters, and sometimes they become entangled in fishing nets.

Water pollution is killing the seagrass that manatees rely on for food.

Since 1974, more than 41 percent of manatee deaths have been human-related — with 34 percent due to watercraft collisions.

Derry Noyes, an art director for USPS, designed the Save Manatees stamp using a digital illustration by Nancy Stahl. The stamp is available in booklets of 20 at Post Offices and

“It is our hope that these stamps bring further awareness to the plight of this beautiful animal,” said Lisa Bobb-Semple, the Postal Service’s stamp services director.