This manatee, in Crystal River in Florida, was settling down for the evening in a clear water spring area where he and others rest over night. Skerry says he was lucky to make friends with the kind creature.
“Animals under water have to let you close,” Skerry says. “We can’t use telephoto lenses. This manatee very willingly let me do that. He relaxed and allowed me into his world.”
Manatees lose a lot of habitat in Florida. Forced to acclimate to humans, they now live in smaller bodies of freshwater and their numbers are dwindling. Often, they are injured or killed in collisions with boats, trapped in canal locks and tangled in fishing gear.
Vote for this photo to appear in the Natural History Museum’s Portraits of Planet Ocean exhibit, set to open in February 2013!