Another manatee killed in city waters
Yesterday, in the wake of the
discovery of a dead manatee
north of Belize City, officials issued
a warning to boaters to drive
carefully along the coast.
Apparently that warning came too
late, as just before we went on
the air last night another manatee
corpse was washing up near the Princess Hotel.
Today, that animal's carcass was brought to the
headquarters of the Coastal Zone Management
Authority and Institute for a post-mortem.
Researcher Angeline Valentine gave us the details.
Angeline Valentine, Manatee Researcher, C.Z.M.A.I.
"The location of the initial report of this finding, as I
before, was by the Calypso by the Barracks. And this is
proximity with the area that is heavily trafficked by
different purposes, tourism being one of them. The area
close to Swallow Caye, which is a famous tourist
manatee watching. And it is for this reason that we
that tour guides and tour guide operators are very
this general vicinity, because this area, the coast of
one that is known to be highly trafficked by manatees
so we also ask that boat traffic be very careful in the
because we know that manatees are always out here, they
frequent this area."
"Angeline, manatees are your business, this is what you
do for a living, but the rest of us really don't. Why
should the people out there care whether or not a boat
runs over a manatee?"
"People should care. Aside from being a part of Belizean
folklore, especially in some coastal communities down in
P.G. area in the lagoon, these people know about
Looking about it from an economic aspect, a lot of money
made through tourist and a great percentage of that
also brought in by manatee watching. It's like a check
balance kind of thing. We go for sustainable development,
where we're not saying that the resources should not be
utilized, but they should be utilised in a sustainable
way. If the
manatees are not around, then those revenues cannot be
sought from this business."
"Compared to the rest of the Caribbean and Central
America, how safe is our manatee population, how
abundant is it?"
"Belize is known to have basically the highest population
Antillean subspecies of the West Indian Manatee. And I
Belize we do offer a great deal of protection for our
At present, we have three wildlife sanctuaries that have
declared, primarily for the protection of manatees. The
being Swallow Caye, that was recently declared last year.
would say, looking at other countries, in comparison to
countries like Guatemala, that Belize has come a long way
is doing a lot where manatees are concerned."
"So what's your message to people who operated boats
along the coast?"
"My message remains that same, just be careful and
If you see a manatee that appears to be in trouble,
please call the hotline at 0-800-manatee. Again,
boaters, particularly those servicing the cruise ships,
are urged to slow down and look out.