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Mar 24, 2015

Efforts to Protect Manatees Continue

Jamal Galvez

But the Belize River Mouth area is heavily trafficked by boaters and is important to stakeholders in the tourism industry. Over the years, human activities in the area are primarily the causes of death of manatees in Belize. Despite visible no-wake zone signs and the awareness campaign that Galvez has been championing, the number of deaths remain on the rise.

 

Jamal Galvez, Program Coordinator, Belize Manatee Conservation Program

“The effort has been there, we can’t stop; we can’t afford to let go of the rope. If we do, what is happening currently while we are already putting in massive efforts, there is no room to let down, there is no room for relief or to relax. We have already contacted the major agencies that are involved which is the Port Authority, B.T.B. has been truly supportive; the Forestry Department and we are planning to have a sit down with these guys because they all hold a part of this puzzle and there is no way we are going to solve this problem if the entire puzzle doesn’t come together. I believe that we can, I am very optimistic about it, that we can lower the amount of deaths that we have in Belize if we can get all the agencies in part and that they all contribute and do their due diligence and carry out the job that needs to be done. From the stats that we are seeing, as tourism goes up, manatee deaths go up as well sadly. We want tourists to come to Belize to see manatees; we are the country that has it, we boast it, why not show it. But I believe that tourism can be active, but in a good way where it cannot affect manatees; that both of them can evolve together. All it takes is a little bit of consideration by boaters to be aware of the no-wake zones and to slow down, give these guys a chance to get out of the way. But like I said, B.T.B. has been very supportive, the Port Authority as well and the Forestry Department and we hope that the continued support will bring some sigh of relief to these animals.”

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