Manatee and Alligator

Photograph by Chris Bickford, National Geographic Travel. Gentle Florida manatees, here seen swimming in Crystal Springs Preserve, are a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. Each year scores of the marine mammals are killed in collisions with watercraft as they seek the warm waters necessary for winter survival.

Alligator in Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida. Photograph by Doug Perrine, Nature Picture Library/Corbis

An American alligator swims in the murky waters of Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve. Alligators are vital to the health of wetland ecosystems in both Big Cypress and neighboring Everglades National Park.