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June 5, 2007 > What Do You Get the World's Greatest Dad?

What Do You Get the World's Greatest Dad?

Submitted By Janice Nearing

It's often a dilemma. What do you get dad for Father's Day that he doesn't already have? Kirsten Hetherly from Lake Mary, Florida, found a gift to please her dad that didn't wind up in the back of a closet or at the bottom of a drawer. Last year, Kirsten adopted an endangered manatee by the name of Nick for her father from Save the Manatee Club's Adopt-A-Manatee program. Since my dad and his wife dedicate most of their spare time helping stray cats in Arizona, and he's a big supporter of animal rights and protection, I thought he would appreciate a manatee adoption," said Kirsten. "He really enjoyed his gift, so I plan on adopting again for him this Father's Day."

It costs $25 to adopt a manatee, and although the real live marine mammal is not part of the package received in the mail, it does include an adoption certificate, manatee photo and biography of a known individual, a membership handbook, and free shipping. Members receive a subscription to the Club's official quarterly newsletter, The Manatee Zone, which includes manatee adoptee updates, and also the bi-monthly e-newsletter, Paddle Tales. Or, for $35, while supplies last, each new member who joins the Adopt-A-Manatee program online will receive the Club's popular T-shirt featuring a new manatee design that beats out a tie any day!

For Shiloh Robinson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, this will be the 5th year that she and her two young sons, Grantham and Ethan, have adopted Doc for their "Popo" on Father's Day. "Popo loves getting the Doc on his special day," said Shiloh, who explained that the manatee is her step-dad's favorite animal. In fact, it was from him that she first learned about these gentle plant eaters, whose closest land relative is the elephant. This January, the family visited Blue Spring State Park near Orange City, Florida, to experience manatees in the wild. "It was very cool to show the boys the manatees, and Popo was so proud to share his love of this glorious animal with them," said Shiloh.

There are 31 manatees to choose from in Save the Manatee Club's three Florida adoption programs at Blue Spring State Park, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, and in the Tampa Bay area. To view the photos and names of all the manatees available for adoption, go to Save the Manatee Club's website at Funds from the adoption program go toward conservation and education programs, manatee research, rescue and rehabilitation efforts, and advocacy and legal action.

In order to raise public awareness about the manatee and help ensure the survival of a species in trouble, Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator, Bob Graham, got together back in 1981 and started Save the Manatee Club, a membership-based, national nonprofit organization. Last year was the worst on record for manatees, with 416 reported manatee deaths. At least 86 were killed by boat strikes, making it the second highest mortality from watercraft collisions ever recorded. There are about 3,000 manatees left in Florida's waterways, and they are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

For more information on the adoption program, up-to-the-minute news about manatees, or to sign up for the Club's free E-Newsletter, contact Save the Manatee Club at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland FL 32751, call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646), or visit their web site at, where more manatee gifts are featured for the entire family.

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