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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline
There is both good and bad news
coming out of the Coastal Zone
Management Authority and Institute
tonight. The good is that with an
estimated population of nine
hundred, Belize boasts more
Antillean manatees in our waters
than any other country. The bad
news is that those gentle creatures are dying at a rapid
rate. A manatee death confirmed on Monday was the
twelfth for this year. That is the same number killed in
all of 2002 and two more than the ten discovered during
2001. The coast of the Belize District remains the scene
of a plurality of manatee deaths with four carcasses
recovered, three from the neighbourhood of Vista del
Mar. While that area is a hotbed of manatee activity,
largely due to the proximity of the Belize River mouth,
is also a popular location for boats. And while none of
the deaths could be conclusively linked to maritime
collisions, officials believe that the growth in boating
activity all along the coast poses an increasing danger
the manatee population of Belize. The C.Z.M.A.I. is
meeting with the Port Authority and NGOs to develop
draft legislation for boating regulations as well as
increased educational efforts. In the meantime, people
operating vessels are asked to follow some common
sense guidelines, which include keeping a close lookout
for manatees and staying in deep channels as opposed
to cruising over shallow grass beds where the mammals
may be feeding. Tour guides are asked to approach
known manatee sites very slowly and either drift or pole
the final hundred feet to their destination.

Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,157
Recently manatees have been sighted in the reef area of Caye Caulker by local guides.

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