A manatee recently found in Monkey River has triggered off concern about its suspected brutal death. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

PAUL MAHUNG

"A manatee recently found in Monkey River has triggered off concern about its suspected brutal death. It was on March 19 that the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment ( TIDE’s) Port Honduras Marine Reserve rangers responded to a call of concern from Monkey River. Reports indicated that a dead manatee was found about half a mile up Monkey River in the Toledo District. The dead manatee was spotted on the left bank of the river tucked under over hanging vegetation and tied with a rope around its tale which indicated the work of a person or persons involved in catching or towing the manatee to the location where it was found. The female manatee which measured 5 feet 10 inches in length with an approximate weight of 200 to 250 pounds also had a 14 inch laceration along the lower back. Based on information from experienced local fishermen who saw the wound along its location on the manatee, the size and depth of the open wound, it was concluded that the laceration was human made with a sharp object and not from boat engine propeller. It is also alleged that the setting of nets in Monkey River could have contributed to the illegal catching and eventual brutal death of the manatee. The carcass of the manatee was removed from the river and taken to a nearby area where it was buried. Those involved in hunting, catching or slaughtering manatees are reminded that manatees are endangered species and are protected in Belize under the Wildlife Protection Act Number 4 of 1981 which states that” No person shall hunt, meaning to kill, molest by any method including attempting to kill, take or molest by any method any manatee. Neither is anyone allowed to have his or her position or possession manatee or parts of the manatee."

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