Village life is teeming with activity, as you’ve heard the Crooked Tree Villagers are concerned about fishing, and the Willow’s Bank group are preparing for their festival. But in Ladyville Village, there was an environmental concern today. Several manatees were sighted near the Oar House and Bar located in Vista Del Mar. That prompted the Sea to Shore Alliance and the Coastal Zone Management and Institute to deploy a team to investigate what initially appeared to be a manatee trapped in a net.

Jamal Galves, Manatee Research Associate, Sea to Shore Alliance/CZMAI

“While we went off today to do our normal routine where we monitor manatees at the Belize River mouth; as you guys have known in the past we have spoken about that, to track two of our manatees that we have online. In the Vista Del Mar Area, we received a call from the staff at the Oar House Bar in Vista Del Mar that there is a manatee here with a net around it. So we quickly responded to the situation considering the urgency of such situation. A manatee with a net around it is very dangerous. So once we got here and looked at the situation, we realized that it wasn’t a net. It was a chop wound around across the back that kinda looked like a string around the animal. After monitoring for a while, we realized that the animal has a chop wound across the back and on the lower end of the tail. And as we observed, there are several other manatees here as well. Normally when animals get hit they tend to go into areas like this that is very quiet to try and recover from the injury. And what we have also seen is that the animal is emaciated probably from complications from the boat impact; maybe causing it not to eat. So you can actually see the ribs of the animal penetrating the body, noh.”

Jamal Galves

Jose Sanchez

“Is there anything that you can do at this time since you’ve seen how serious or severe the wounds are?”

Jamal Galvez

“Well right now, we are continuing to monitor the animal to see how we can address this situation due to the animals are very big animals and due to the condition of the area, it is very deep. There is going to be very little that we can do, but we are going to monitor it for another couple hours or so and from there we are going to put an action plan into place. From the way the animal is floating, it shows that it has buoyancy problems which shows that it may have a punctured lungs and there is not much that we can do to help such animal. So we are going to try our best to see what we can do. Sometimes leaving these animals is the best thing that we can do and maybe they recover on their own. But internal injuries are very difficult to address.”

Jamal Galves told News Five that the team would return on Thursday morning to attempt a rescue operation of the large manatee.

Channel 5