In Amazonian folklore, manatees are known as Amalanhigui or "mother of the waters." They are believed to be sacred beings with the power to heal and protect people from harm. According to legend, if a manatee is harmed or killed, it will bring bad luck to those who caused its harm.
In West African folklore, manatees are believed to be the reincarnated souls of deceased ancestors. They are revered as symbols of wisdom, grace, and power, and are said to possess supernatural abilities such as shape-shifting and the ability to control the tides. — chatGPT
Manatees are capable of understanding discrimination tasks and show signs of complex associative learning. They also have good long-term memory. They demonstrate discrimination and task-learning abilities similar to dolphins and pinnipeds in acoustic and visual studies. Social interactions between manatees are highly complex and intricate, which may indicate higher intelligence than previously thought, although they remain poorly understood by science. — Wikipedia
Because of seagrass loss due to severe, chronic algae blooms, some biologists and organizations are petitioning to have the manatee relisted as a critically endangered species.
—Another group of conservationists plans to sue US government unless they save manatees, Florida Today, 5/5/2023.