Mother Manatee Perishes, Calf Left Suckling

Posted By: Marty

Mother Manatee Perishes, Calf Left Suckling - 08/24/11 03:01 PM

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

Posted By: Marty

Re: Mother Manatee Perishes, Calf Left Suckling - 08/25/11 02:58 PM

More manatee deaths; are mariners to blame?

In recent times, a growing number of manatees have turned up dead along the coasts. Researchers believe that the manatee population is under threat. This morning, an injured sea cow was spotted near the Haulover and another turned up dead. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Manatee researchers were back near the Haulover looking for a newborn manatee. It’s mother was killed in an area heavily trafficked by mariners.

Jamal Galvez, Manatee Researcher

Jamal Galvez

“Upon arrival the calf had already departed from the area and we had canvassed the area to try and find the calf in order to recover it and maybe to take it to the rehabilitation center where we can try to rehabilitate it and then later release it into the wild. The mother had apparent signs of dislodged ribs probably from an impact from a boat and the calf is somewhere out here. Today we came out to look for the calf. Someone had spotted the calf so we came out to try and recover it again.”

The manatee researchers were assisted by children in a floating refrigerator who also saw the calf early in the morning. And while the joint search was underway, the search team found another dead manatee.

Jamal Galvez

“Upon looking for the calf, we found another dead one, a female adult manatee, In the area that looked like it had signs of boat strikes as well. So it shows that boating in this area is causing huge impact on the manatee life and it’s becoming more and more and more and more.”

Jose Sanchez

“Is this area frequented a lot by boats related to tourism?”

Jamal Galvez

“Yeah this area is used mostly by tour boats that go up in the area to do different tours and it’s mostly tour operators that use this area and as you’ve seen earlier, you have boats speeding through here regardless of the many debris and trees in the water which is danger also for them. And they are not respecting the area.”

Nicole Gomez

Nicole Gomez, Conservation Biologist /Consultant

“We have two dead female manatees not far from the Belize River and it is highly suspected, a necropsy will be done on the fresh one yesterday. It’s most likely cause of death is from impact from a boat because we see this is a high traffic area for boats. Boats speed very fast into the Belize River here at this mouth of the Haulover entrance and it’s unfortunate because in one case at least, we have a dead female that had a calf, a baby manatee. The female that died was lactating which means the calf was a dependent calf still nursing. So at this stage what we are attempting to do is locate and rescue the calf because it will need assistance in order to survive. There is a manatee rehabilitation facility in Sarteneja in the Corozal District and that’s where we would transport the animal for rehabilitation. So the main issue here, we will ask boaters to please slow down at the Belize River mouth. When we were canvassing for the calf, we saw a group of five manatees and we believe at least one of them was a calf—alive—swimming here.”

Manatees deaths caused by boat injures are becoming frequent occurrences along the coast. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

If anyone sees stranded or injured manatees please contact the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute at 223-5739

Channel 5

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