Paul Nicklen really is the most extraordinary photographer. This new photoset perfectly captures the conservation dilemmas created by human intrusion on the manatee habitat and the human desire to get close to manatees. Stunning work:
The Florida manatee is thriving in Kings Bay, and so is tourism.
Kayaks crowd Three Sisters Springs, where people and manatees maintain a controversial coexistence. To reach the warm water they need to survive winter, manatees often must run a gantlet of kayakers
and snorkelers eager to interact with the marine mammals.
Expanding residential, commercial, and agricultural development in Florida often requires increased pumping of groundwater. The resulting loss of flow from natural springs reduces wintering habitat for manatees.
Scientists and volunteers capture manatees to gather statistics on their age, size, and physical condition.
The thing that Nicklen conveys so well is that even when humans have benign or even positive intentions the degree of interference and impact on the environment and lives of non-human species is deeply disruptive.
The full photoset is here, and each photo is as powerful as the next. You can look at more of Nicklen’s work here.