This overview has three related objectives. First, it provides simple documentation, descriptive summaries, and anecdotal accounts that demonstrate the extent to which maiming, and likely pain and suffering, occur in wild manatees as a result of strikes by boats. The chapter calls attention to the issues wounding raises for policy makers and managers involved with implementing boat speed zones, particularly in regard to existing laws and emerging ethical points



of view. The authors suggest that considerations related to wounding should also be embraced in developing boat speed zone and sanctuary decisions, and that this issue adds a strong dimension that can override debate about manatee population trends. The strength of the science behind the latter is often misunderstood, leading to unnecessary controversy. Therefore, the second major objective is to provide a simple primer on concepts and uncertainties in manatee population biology for manatee veterinarians, rehabilitators, and biomedical specialists. Although these specialists may have little training in population ecology, they are on the front lines in manatee rescue and treatment efforts, and are often asked by the media to comment on questions related to manatee population trends. This primer is generally restricted to review of information in the published literature or widely accessible management documents. Finally, the authors submit their viewpoint that issues surrounding uncertainty in manatee population biology may be “red herrings” that detract from implementation of management actions. As humanity enters an era of growing ethical concerns for animal welfare, the degree of maiming and injury to manatees by boats will become unacceptable. Indeed, long-standing statutes that have been overdue in their application are cited to justify manatee speed zones and sanctuaries.