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					Marine Mammals

The term marine mammal refers to those mammals that live in bodies of
water. Scientists and researchers have identified and classified more
than 120 different species of marine mammals. They have also engaged in
studies of their behaviors and how they survive in their environment.
This type of information has led to the development of successful
programs for those that are endangered. This helps to reduce the risk of
certain species of marine mammals becoming extinct in the future.

Some common types of marine mammals that you have likely heard of include
the manatee, whales, dolphins, seals, otters, and polar bears. They are
able to withstand the cold water due to thick layers of skin. Their body
is able to regulate a high enough temperature even though the water is
very cold. Marine mammals give birth to their babies in the water and
many of them feed them milk from the female’s body until they are old
enough to get food on their own.

There are plenty of laws out there that pertain to marine mammals in
order to protect them. In some areas is it legal to hunt them but in
others it isn’t. Poaching continues to be a big problem for them though
due to the amount of money that can be made off of these animals. The
fines for such practices often aren’t enough to deter them from
continuing to do so.

Some marine mammals are in jeopardy right now. They are on the endangered
mammal list and if things don’t improve the will one day be extinct. They
include the manatee, sea otters, fur seals, the steller sea lion, and the
humpback whale. Efforts are in place to protect them and to get their
numbers to increase. Yet it does take time to get these various programs
implemented and for results to be seen.

Many types of marine mammals have to be careful of predators. They are
often a food source of other marine mammals that are larger than
themselves. They also are hunted for food and for sport in many places
around the world. The amount of environmental pollution to the bodies of
water in which they leave is also a problem. For examples chemicals in
the water and oil spills can kills thousands of marine mammals and result
permanent damage to their natural environment.

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