flirts with a snorkeler at Xcaret
Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMA/I) has announced that Hercules and
Woody will both be relocated by next week. The once stranded manatees have much
in common as both males have experienced the trauma of abandonment, rescue, and
long trips to new habitats for rehabilitation. However, as of next Thursday,
they will have much more in common as they will share an expansive pen in the
Southern Lagoon at Gales Point Manatee.
almost two years old, was rescued from a canal in Vista del Mar by Coastal Zone
Management Authority and Institute's Manatee Researcher, Nicole Auil and two
other members of the Belize Marine Mammal Stranding Network (BMMSN). A week
later he was transported to the Xcaret ecological park in Mexico for
rehabilitation as long-term care could not be offered in Belize. There he
steadily improved and is doing quite well. This was witnessed just two weeks ago
by the San Pedro Sun on a visit to
Woody was found only a few months later, in
October, near the shore at Buttonwood Bay. He remained in the care of BMMSN
members and volunteers for approximately two weeks before being transferred to
the Belize Zoo for long-term care. However, due to his need for large amounts of
water and food, the Zoo was unable to keep Woody and he had to be moved. His new
home has been Sarteneja Village in northern Belize, where he was cared for by
Wildtracks, a volunteer organization, and later by Angeline Valentine with
assistance from Wildtracks.
Following the rescue of both
Hercules and Woody it was anticipated that by their second birthdays, depending
on their health status, both manatees would be moved to a new home. However, due
to unforeseen circumstances, they will be moving a few months earlier than
anticipated. It is expected that relocating the manatees will be a learning
experience for each as both have been living in isolation and are therefore
unfamiliar with other manatees. After a period of time, Hercules and Woody will
be released into the wild, outfitted with tags that will allow them to be
tracked via satellite for monitoring and evaluation.
Unfortunately, a recent oil spill into the Quamina Creek near Gales Point
Manatee delayed the relocation of these manatees. According to reports, 8,000
gallons of bunker fuel was emptied into the Quamina Creek, after a Mexican
"bowser" hauling two oil tanks, each containing 4,000 gallons of fuel, ran off
the bridge that spans the creek at Mile 22 on the Belize Coastal Road. The oil
spread about one mile before it was contained the following day by the
Department of Environment. Clean up efforts to clear this area are now complete.
The San Pedro Sun verified with Nicole Auil of
CZMA/I that Woody is being transferred today, May 3rd and Hercules will be transported next
Thursday, May 10th.