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May 30, 2014

4 manatees dead in a week

Since the beginning of the week, four manatees have perished in the waterways surrounding Belize City.  The sea cows, as they are colloquially known, were victims of boating accidents and the injuries, in some cases, were so grave that the animals could not have survived the impact.  Manatee conservationist Jamal Galvez stopped by to remind boaters to obey the rules within the no wake zone, particularly near the entrance to Haulover Creek.

 

Jamal Galvez, Program Coordinator, Belize Manatee Conservation Program

Jamal Galvez

“Within the last three days we’ve had four manatees dead which is alarming.  We hadn’t had so much in such a quantity in such a short space of time and what’s more alarming is that they are all from watercraft collisions, mainly in large boats from the propeller wounds that we observed during the… These are huge boats, probably like a cruise tender or a water taxi or those tour boats, you know.  We had three in the Belize River near the Haulover Creek which is within the no wake zone which is quite alarming because to have deaths by watercraft collision within the no wake zone that’s not where we want to have manatee deaths, you know.  We don’t want to have manatee deaths any at all but it’s not the appropriate place because the boats should be moving at slow speed but the evidence has shown otherwise.  The other one was at the cruise terminal, right in front of the cruise terminal, that one I presume died almost instantly from the huge chop that it got across the back that penetrated the vital organs.  The animal was still fresh when we found it, so that shows that the animal died right after impact or sometime a little bit after impact. Manatee protection and manatee management, as you know, is very important; however, managing manatee is different, I think, it’s managing people that’s difficult.  Manatees in their [natural] environment without any human interference do well but once humans get involved that’s where the problems come in.  Mainly it’s the watercraft collision that I spoke about earlier.  So we never stop appealing to people that are on the water to be careful, look out for manatees in these areas that we know there are signs to let us know where they are.”

 

It is the first time in the history of manatee conservation where four animals have died in such a short space of time. 

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