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May 24, 2012

Carcass of adult manatee retrieved from the sea

A recent aerial survey shows that the manatee population is increasing and that the number of calves signals successful reproduction. Conservationist, Jamal Galves recently won two regional awards for his work with manatees. This morning he called us out to the Belize Coastguard Headquarters where an eight hundred pound mammal was transported from the Old Belize area. News Five’s Delahnie Bain was on hand when it was retrieved from the sea.


Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The manatee is one of Belize’s endangered species, but they are all too often victims of boating accidents. Today, yet another dead adult manatee was pulled from the sea and while it bore scars caused by boats, that’s not what killed it. Manatee Research Associate, Jamal Galves says the mammal was spotted along with a live one on Wednesday.


Jamal Galves, Manatee Research Associate, Sea to Shore Alliance/CZMAI

Jamal Galves

“Yesterday we had a report of from one of the boats tendering for the cruise ship that they see a manatee floating near Old Belize along with another live animal. We came out assuming that it was a calf and needed a rescue, but when we got there we realized it was an adult animal as well and the animal refused to move from next to the animal. So we thought that it may have been a dependent animal, but it’s too big to be dependent. My only judgment is that maybe this animal is in estrous [heat] and the males are following it because it’s giving off a scent and males tend to be very aggressive in terms of mating in regards to manatees. So that’s one of the reasons I’m figuring why the other animal refused from close to the carcass because upon our approach, normally a manatee would speed away hearing a boat, but this animal just refused to move.”


Speaking to us before the necropsy, Galves explained that the female manatee may have been killed by the same aggressive males trying to mate with her.


Jamal Galves

“We haven’t done the necropsy as yet and I’m guessing maybe sometimes during mating, sometimes you have maybe ten to twelve males chasing a female manatee and they’re very aggressive and so we have cases where they have drowned the female and from the bulging of the genital area, it shows that maybe the animal may have been in heat.”


Delahnie Bain

“Apart from that, does it have any other injuries or so?”


Jamal Galves

“Well, there are boat scars on it but it looks like scars that have already healed up so I don’t think that would have impacted the cause of death.”


What was clear, however, was that the manatee had been dead for a few days.


Jamal Galves

“It may have been dead a couple days, three to four days. From exposure to sunlight, the skin would have peeled off in two to three days so I’m assuming that it have been dead two to three days.”


Delahnie Bain

“So what happens now?”


Jamal Galves

“I’m going to carry out a necropsy and see if I could find any visible cause of death, checking interesting places such as the lung cavity; look for water in the lungs to see if maybe it got water in the lungs as a result of drowning or any unusual thing inside of the animal to the vital organs.”


Galves had assistance from the Coastguard and Belize City Council in retrieving the carcass from the sea and taking it to the necropsy and burial site. Delahnie Bain for News Five.


The necropsy on the manatee was inconclusive due to the advanced state of decomposition.

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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1 Response for “Carcass of adult manatee retrieved from the sea”

  1. mustard stand says:

    they sure never came down to Placencia for the dead manatee that was down there. a few weeks ago, and according whaT was posed on FB they called lots of people, SEA,ETC and no ONE SHOW UP. So, there ya go, still not enough of nothing to do the right thing.

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