Four Manatee Deaths In Three Days
Last night at the end of the news - we told you about a manatee corpse that was seen floating in the Belize City Harbor - just behind Brodies Warehouse on Southern Foreshore.
Today, manatee expert Jamal Galvez went in to remove the corpse - which had floated over to the vicinity of the Dive Center, which is closer to the swing bridge. Galvez and his assistant had to drag it off to a nearby island off the coast of Belize City.
It is alarming news since it is the fourth report made of a dead manatee within the last 3 days - all as a result of watercraft collision.
Jamal Galvez- Manatee Conservation Coordinator
"Within the last 3 days we've had 4 dead manatees; 3 in the Haulover Creek and one in the Tourist Village area, all as a result f water craft collision mainly from huge boats from big propellers, not small propellers. All of the animals were found along the "No Wake" areas which is quite alarming because that's the last place you would want to see dead manatees in the area that you are supposed to be going slow. We have seen as well that boats haven't been slowing down. Last year we did a workshop for tour operators and I must admit they were abiding for a long time, but like everything people go back to the normal old routine and the results are showing now - 4 dead manatees within one day; one that got hit by a boat in the city river, still alive, but still in distress. We went down there on Tuesday to rescue the animal. We caught it and the animal was too huge to transport at the time, it has a quite large propeller cut on his back as well. We are closely monitoring it and we plan to go back to rescue the animal in an effort to try to rehabilitate. Tour operators, cruise operators, people on the water to be on the lookout for manatees. We ask that you please abide by the "No Wake Zone," they are there for a specific reason, not there just to be pretty picture. We can't afford these amount of deaths in such a short time span."
All four manatees were found in a "No Wake Zone" area.
Belize is considered the stronghold for the Antillean manatee, an endangered subspecies.
Manatee killed in the Haulover River
Too many manatees killed within too short a space of time
Despite the plea of the Fisheries Department and other agencies to boat operators travelling in the Haulover River to be very careful in order to avoid hitting or killing the slow-moving manatee with their boats, a total of four large manatees – members of an endangered species that is protected by law – were killed this week. The most recent discovery was made in the area of the Tourism Village, where a large manatee was found dead, where the Haulover Creek meets the sea, by the crew on a boat on Friday morning.
The animal was seen with chop wounds on the back, caused by a boat propeller.
Gilbert Pike, 35, a worker on the Kremandala compound, said that on his arrival in the area of the Water Taxi Terminal on Friday morning, he saw the manatee floating in the river. He immediately recovered the dead animal and secured it to the wharf near the Caye Caulker Water Taxi, opposite the Tourism Village, to prevent any possible boat collision with the carcass. The animal was buried later that same day.
Jamal Galvez, program coordinator of the Belize Manatee Conservation Program, said that the death of four manatees within just a week is alarming.
Three of the manatees were killed by boats hitting them in the no-wake zone near Haulover Bridge, where boats should be travelling especially slowly, and the fourth one, seen by Galvez, was killed by a boat near the cruise terminal. He thinks that this manatee died almost immediately from the huge chop wounds that it sustained across the back, which penetrated some of its vital organs.
Galvez continues to appeal to boat users travelling in the Haulover River and other areas where manatees are known to be present, to be very careful, and to be on the lookout for them and avoid hitting them.
If any of the animals are seen injured, the Belize Manatee Conservation Program should be alerted.