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.