And while Crocodiles are a danger to humans, for manatees - humans are the ones posing the danger. We can't tell you how many times on this newscast we've reported on Manatee deaths caused by boats running over them.

In fact, it happens so often that we've slowed down on reporting the deaths. But a case that was reported to our newsroom today caught our attention: an adult female had been killed - presumably by the hull of a boat - and her newborn manatee calf was still there, trying to suckle from his dead mother.

It happened in the seas just off Bella Vista, and the Coastal Zone unit was deployed to effect a rescue, but by the time we got there with them, the calf had already disappeared. Marine Biologist Nicole Auil told us more:..

Nicole Auil, Marine Biologist
"Well today we got a report that there was a dead female manatee with a calf that was following it and the calf was still alive, so that would have been a mother and calf pair that were together and it's not too far from the Belize river entrance."

"We were able to go out and see the dead manatee, they tied it so that we were able to get it, but unfortunately the calf had already abandoned the mother, which is unfortunate because we scoured the area for two to two and a half hours and we were unable to locate the calf again. We examined the female again and it had milk, so it was a lactating female, it was a nursing mother. And so for sure this animal has a very low likelihood survival in the wild."

"It's most probable that it was hit by a boat. Jamal Galvez, the researcher went in and did a quick examination under water of the body and notice that there was some loosening in the lower part of the abdomen indicating that possibly some ribs was dislocated."

Jules Vasquez
"So now this calf is doubtlessly doomed?"

Nicole Auil, Marine Biologist
"Well I suspect that we would probably get a call this evening or we would get a call tomorrow morning, because the neighbors around here - this area tends to be pretty knowledgeable about looking at manatees and knowing when the situation that needs attending and they would call us."

If you've seen this manatee calf or any other manatee in distress you can call the Coastal Zone Office at 2235739 or a manatee rescue hotline at 607-5038.

Channel 7