Pittman does a superb job describing the now decades-long war between all the special interest groups, scientists, and the government, over this wonderful docile creature who has no natural enemy except man. Manatees can offer no defense except to try and swim away from dangers and mothers cannot even protect their calves except to get between them and danger. They are total vegetarians but boats and development have ruined or destroyed many areas where the water grasses grow. The warm water they rely on from the natural springs is being pulled from the aquifer to water lawns and golf courses.(They cannot tolerate temperatures below 68 degrees and the springs are 72). He's dead-on with his insights on how money and politics have played major roles to trump development over science at the local, state, federal, and international levels. He does try to balance the equation by telling what the other sides have to say, however flawed I think their reasonings are. For me this book was almost a page-turner to see what arguments would be floated up next. Read this book; get your friends to read this book! The manatee is the "canary" in the mine. If we fail to save this animal and its habitat there is not a lot of hope left for anything at any time. Something is only "saved" as long as it has no perceived value (land, water, animals, etc.). Let someone figure out how to make a buck and they will use their money and influence to get the place or animal re-designated to their desires to make that buck. Oddly enough all the businesses mentioned in this book are mostly still in business no matter how loudly they squawked before that the restrictions to save manatees would run them into bankruptcy (if anything, the economy would have been responsible for that, not the manatee). Meanwhile, manatees are still dying by the hand of man.