Aerial camera captures dolphins hanging out with a huge aggregation of Florida manatees

An aerial camera caught a delightful sight off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida last week, as a small pod of dolphins swam through a huge aggregation of manatees. As the dolphins make their way through the shallow waters, we see around 170 manatees just chilling, as manatees do. Then we get to see the dolphins show off their playfulness, as dolphins do.

The marine mammal mingling is particularly meaningful knowing how the manatee has struggled for survival.

170 Manatees and Some Jumping Dolphins in St Petersburg, FL www.youtube.com

Florida manatees became protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1973, when their numbers were estimated to be between 800 and 1,000. By 1991, their population was still less than 1,300. But dedicated conservation and rehabilitation efforts in recent decades have increased that number to around 6,300. Manatees in Florida currently make up around half of the world's total manatee population.

The increase in numbers does come with a couple of caveats, however. Manatee populations are notoriously difficult to count accurately, so estimates are just that. The manatee was downgraded from "endangered" to "threatened" in 2017, but some advocates said that designation is misleading because the threats to its survival are still just as much of a problem.


The biggest threats manatees face are collisions with watercraft, habitat loss and degradation, fishing gear entanglement, human harassment, exposure to red tide, and climate change. The loss of the manatee's warm-water habitat is a vital long-term threat to the species, as it can't tolerate cold waters. Traditionally, they rely on natural springs to stay warm during cold weather, but urban and agricultural development has impacted many of Florida's natural artesian springs.

However, as far as conservation and rehabilitation goes, Florida manatees are a success story. Many groups, both within the government and non-profit sectors, work diligently to advocate for the protection of Florida manatees and educate people on how they can help. Seeing this large aggregation of manatees from above is a heartening reminder of how important that work has been.

The footage was captured by See Through Canoe, a company that sells transparent canoes and that shares videos of animal encounters off the Florida coast. They say that dolphins and manatees often swim in the same waters, but rarely interact directly. This summer, they shared a video of a small pod of dolphins actually seeming to play together—a phenomenon they say they've not seen in 30 years of observing these animals.

The Odd Pod. Dolphins and a Manatee Swimming and Playing Together youtu.be

As human activity continues to impact the well-being and survival of creatures like the manatee, we can use videos like this as inspiration and incentive to implement more environmentally responsible habits. Seeing what we're saving by pushing for ecologically sound policies and practices can go a long way toward keeping the momentum going.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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