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Mar 11, 2020

Two Dead Manatees in One Week!

Last year, Belize recorded the lowest number of manatee deaths. But with less than half way through the third month of this year, there are already five recorded deaths.  On March third, a mutilated manatee carcass was found in the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary and on Sunday another manatee was found dead with massive chop wounds off the Seashore Promenade in Belize City. Manatee conservationist Jamal Galvez calls for action to be taken to help protect the manatees.

 

Jamal Galves

Jamal Galves, Programme Coordinator, Clear Water Marine Research Institute

“We found that the animal was freshly dead, probably not even an hour or two hours because rigor mortis hadn’t even kicked in as yet. Initial assessment showed that it had numerous boat strikes across its back and over the left side of the shoulder and including its head as well. It was a sub-adult male, so it is a relatively young animal and the body is proven to be one of a healthy animal. So, you could have seen that there was nothing wrong with the animal physically except for the boat strikes across its shoulder.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Another manatee killed before this one down in the Swallow Caye area; what can you tell us about that manatee?”

 

Jamal Galves

“That was a very disturbing incident. We had a report from our friends at Swallow Caye who reported that there was a dead manatee within the sanctuary. The Clear Water Marine Research Institute team went out to do an assessment and our initial assessment showed that both flippers were removed; including portions of meat from the shoulder area. We could have seen consistency of knife cuttings which were not from an animal or a boat. The way the flippers were removed gave a clear indication that they were probably removed for harvesting. It is unclear whether the animal was killed for harvest or if it was an opportunistic harvesting where someone found it and took the meat or they killed it with the intention. Regardless, we continue to look into this along with the fisheries department to investigate to ensure that these kinds of things don’t occur especially within a wildlife sanctuary, particularly within the Belize City area which is so busy. These animals are facing so many issues already for us to bring poaching on these animals is another problem that we have to control. That is completely unacceptable and I think that something has to be done.”


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