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#502631 - 03/25/15 06:07 AM 17 Manatees Killed in 12 Weeks
Marty Offline

Seventeen manatees in twelve weeks; those are the startling statistics coming from the Belize Manatee Conservation Program Coordinator today, following yet another sighting of dead manatees in Belizean waters. It has only been twelve weeks since the start of the year 2015 and since then, there has been up to seventeen manatees that have been killed by boats in no-wake zones in Belize City.  Last year alone, thirty-four manatee deaths were recorded, which is the highest number of mortality since 1997, when the conservation program was incepted. Jamal Galvez has been on the ground as program coordinator trying to protect the endangered species of sea cow, for which Belize has the largest population. But last Friday, a female manatee and its three-week-old calf were found dead in the Belize River Mouth area of the city. The mother had been killed when it was struck by the propeller of a boat; her calf died of hunger.

Jamal Galvez, Program Coordinator, Belize Manatee Conservation Program

“We haven’t gone through a week successfully without a dead manatee. That’s serious call for alarm. This animal is an endangered species and Belize has the highest population of this species in the world. So we in Belize should be protecting it better than we are. Last week Friday, we were at World Water Day trying to bring more awareness talking children when we got a call from Pepe Garcia about….he said there is a dead manatee at his house along with a baby dead. And it is rough. I mean it is just north of the Belize River mouth where manatees need to go. It is a very, very important area for manatees. It is one of the only, major freshwater outlets and manatees do need freshwater to survive so at some point these guys are going to go there for freshwater no matter how long it takes. So it is a very important area for manatees.”

Duane Moody

“Talk to us about what you found when you went out there on site.”

Jamal Galvez

“There was a female, an adult female manatee along with a newborn calf. The female had boat strikes which caused the animal to have died and the calf didn’t have any boat strike, but from our assessment, we believe that the animal, because the female’s dead and the mother and calf bonding with manatees is very important…a baby manatee would not survive without its mother especially at such a young age. It is dependent on its mother for milk in order for it to survive and normally what we see with dead manatees that have baby, the baby would follow the carcass, while the carcass drifts not knowing the animal may have died. She probably hang there with the mother until it eventually died from hunger or some other conditions. It is like leaving the baby by itself without its mother.”

Efforts to Protect Manatees Continue

Jamal Galvez

But the Belize River Mouth area is heavily trafficked by boaters and is important to stakeholders in the tourism industry. Over the years, human activities in the area are primarily the causes of death of manatees in Belize. Despite visible no-wake zone signs and the awareness campaign that Galvez has been championing, the number of deaths remain on the rise.

Jamal Galvez, Program Coordinator, Belize Manatee Conservation Program

“The effort has been there, we can’t stop; we can’t afford to let go of the rope. If we do, what is happening currently while we are already putting in massive efforts, there is no room to let down, there is no room for relief or to relax. We have already contacted the major agencies that are involved which is the Port Authority, B.T.B. has been truly supportive; the Forestry Department and we are planning to have a sit down with these guys because they all hold a part of this puzzle and there is no way we are going to solve this problem if the entire puzzle doesn’t come together. I believe that we can, I am very optimistic about it, that we can lower the amount of deaths that we have in Belize if we can get all the agencies in part and that they all contribute and do their due diligence and carry out the job that needs to be done. From the stats that we are seeing, as tourism goes up, manatee deaths go up as well sadly. We want tourists to come to Belize to see manatees; we are the country that has it, we boast it, why not show it. But I believe that tourism can be active, but in a good way where it cannot affect manatees; that both of them can evolve together. All it takes is a little bit of consideration by boaters to be aware of the no-wake zones and to slow down, give these guys a chance to get out of the way. But like I said, B.T.B. has been very supportive, the Port Authority as well and the Forestry Department and we hope that the continued support will bring some sigh of relief to these animals.”

Channel 5

#502636 - 03/25/15 06:45 AM Re: 17 Manatees Killed in 12 Weeks [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
1.4 per week/73.6 per year/368.3 in 5 yrs in Belize district alone.

Norwegian Cruise lines in Stann Creek/Harvest caye will add to those mortality figures
Belize based travel specialist

#502945 - 04/03/15 06:31 AM Re: 17 Manatees Killed in 12 Weeks [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Wildtracks Update: Another two dead manatees this week in Belize, bringing the total to 19 in the first quarter of this year. We have two high risk areas - the Belize River and the mouth of Placencia Lagoon. The Belize River area has high use by cruise tour boats. The Placencia Lagoon mouth is about to become part of the transit route for boats from Harvest Caye to Malacate.

If you are a boat captain, please slow down in these key manatee areas. If you are a tour guide, please ensure your boat captain obeys the No Wake zones and that you place a spotter on the bow of the boat when moving through these key manatee areas. 19 manatees in three months - that is too high a mortality rate for the population to sustain.

This could be a worsening problem in the Placencia Lagoon and Harvest Caye area as the cruise terminal comes online and the tenders start plowing around that area.

#502961 - 04/03/15 11:16 AM Re: 17 Manatees Killed in 12 Weeks [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
We have decreased population and gene pool and teetering on unsustainable numbers at this kill rate. Terrible what we are doing
Belize based travel specialist


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