Meanwhile, it is January 2014. Temperatures dip in Central Florida to the 30’s and 40’s at night and as tech savvy consumers clamber for smarter higher speed methods to download content, share information, and keep tabs (via Twitter) of the rarely seen Kardashian, there is one mammal in Central
Florida that cannot be hurried. The Manatee
A subspecies of West Indian Manatees, our gentle, entirely aquatic, marine mammals (also known as Sea Cows) can swim up to 20mph for very short bursts, but they are slow and deliberate in their search for warm water, turtle grass, water hyacinth and other marine plants to eat (herbivores). They have no predators. The principal threats to these interesting creatures are human related. Manatees cannot get out of the way of our high speed water craft, developed in part to track and catch the ”high speed” fish we have in our inland and coastal waterways. A naturally curious docile mammal, the majority of adult Manatees bare the visible signs of our need for speed (propeller scars and the like). Their memory and learning skills are akin to the dolphin, but they hear on a higher frequency than other aquatic mammals. Manatees don’t hear the low frequency of engines associated with boats or ships. In addition, they don’t see very well and can ingest discarded fishing gear (hooks, line, lures, and weights) and crab pot float lines. Manatees are listed on the “Vulnerable to Extinction” list and are classified as endangered. They are not now and will never be in a hurry.
Central Floridians are fortunate. We have Blue Springs State Park , an up-close, natural setting in which to see these wonderful creatures November through March. Manatees swim up the St. Johns River and gather here, the largest natural warm springs on this river that keeps the temperature at a constant 70 degrees. It is a designated Manatee Refuge. Imagine, watching adult Manatees and their calves floating in crystal clear water along with other fish and Florida wildlife. What a fine opportunity for snapping “selfies,” in beautiful surroundings, to post via lightning fast connections. It is reaffirming to see Florida attractions that are not festooned with animatronics or holographic images of virtual life forms. Manatees are real and very cooperative. Since they are so slow and come to the surface frequently to breath, you can record excellent videos without fear of losing the subject matter. No one dressed as a 10 foot canine or 7 foot mouse will block your photo opportunity. A day at Blue Springs State Park is the antidote to theme park sensory overload, a common condition in and around Orlando, Florida.
So, as we anxiously await the findings of the FCC Technology
Transitions Policy Task Force and the impact of the move to an
all-IP Network, I will be thinking of the Manatee. While we rush
to utilize the most excellent network, superior satellite tracking,
high speed connections, and access to the most voluminous
richest content ever, the Manatee may become extinct within the
next 100 years. Like some of our older technology, I guess.
Manatees are not in a hurry. We are.