Do Manatees Exhibit Grieving Behavior?

Not much is known about whether manatees exhibit grieving behavior, and there doesn't seem to be much documented information on this topic. However, Wayne Hartley, Save the Manatee Club’s Manatee Specialist, has observed manatees being extremely agitated when in the vicinity of a distressed manatee.

 

Q. Do manatees exhibit behavior associated with grief, as elephants do?

A. Manatees are semi-social, somewhat solitary animals. They sometimes gather in small, informal groups, but they have no leader or real herd structure. Manatees do not form permanent pair bonds like some animal species.

Not much is known about whether manatees exhibit grieving behavior, and there doesn't seem to be much documented information on this topic. However, Wayne Hartley, Save the Manatee Club’s Manatee Specialist, has served since 1980 as a principal investigator for manatee research conducted at Blue Spring State Park, and he has made some interesting observations. “I have watched manatees being extremely agitated when in the vicinity of a distressed manatee,” says Wayne. “I have also heard many times of manatees attempting to lift a dying or recently dead manatee to the surface to breathe.”


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