Author Discusses Manatee Insanity

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At a noontime Biodiversity Lecture for students in the Great Hall at Stetson Law in Gulfport on Monday, author and St. Petersburg Times journalist Craig Pittman discussed how Florida became caught up in Manatee Insanity, also the topic of Pittman’s new book. Pittman reviewed the 300-year history of the manatee in Florida, from dinner special to endangered species.

The manatee, according to Pittman, remains a symbol of Florida and of human conflict with the environment. He talked about some present-day controversies, from swimming with the manatees in Crystal River to draining springs frequented by manatees for drinking water. Pittman concluded his lecture by reminding the law students in the audience to “beware the manatee insanity, and bear in mind that they are a symbol of Florida and not just the wilderness, but also the conflict, and our desire to live in the wilderness and make it our own.”

Professor Royal Gardner, who directs Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy, introduced the lecture co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Society.