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Jan 11, 2019

Look Out for the Manatees! New Signage Cautions Boaters

Manatee advocate Jamal Galvez is advising boaters to exercise caution when passing through the Belize River. Galvez, with the assistance of the MAR Fund, has installed several signs along the river to draw attention that manatees live in the area. As a part of the awareness, Galvez has also installed billboards and painted a mural. This action is being taken because Galvez says that forty-six manatees were stranded in Placencia and Belize District in 2018. Belize has a healthy population of the animal, but it is still considered threatened around the world.  Galvez shares more about the sensitization effort to protect manatees in Belize.

 

Jamal Galvez

Jamal Galvez, Coordinator, Sea to Shore Alliance

“Belize has the last stronghold of the population – more than any country in the world. So, if we lose what we have in Belize then we are losing it globally, hence our efforts are particularly in high risk areas for manatees in Placencia and Belize. We have been lobbying the Government, the Forest Department and other stakeholders to bring some protection for this area.  Today, we are installing a bunch of signage because it is the start of the high season for Tourism and it is the start of a new year and we want to ensure that we are present and that we are getting a foot forward before the incidents start piling up on us. So, we are installing signs, billboards, murals just to remind boaters and the public that manatees are present and remind them of the threats that these animals are facing and how are they impacting these animals lifestyle.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, as boaters are passing through this area, what is your advice to them, what should they do?”

 

Jamal Galvez

“Particularly the tourism boats which are the larger vessels – this area is a very important habitat for manatees and they spend a lot of time here and this is one of the only places in the country you are guaranteed to see manatees because they come here for the habitat and the fresh water – so we are asking boaters to be aware when they are travelling this area. We ask that they try to travel at low speed that they avoid hitting a manatee and report incidents and to just be cautious that manatees are present in this area and just have a sense of courtesy when travelling the area.”

 

If you see a manatee stranded or if you accidentally hit a manatee, you are asked to call Galvez 615-3838.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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