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    Baby Manatee Rescued

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    Villagers have rescued a baby manatee close to the mouth of the Ortoire River on Thursday and have been nurturing it in the Emperor Valley Zoo solely for the purposes of its refuge until it is able to survive on its own and not for sightseers. Though it is quite odd for a calf to be found away from its mother, the locals wasted no time in getting it to safety and reviving its health.

    Manatees, mammals of the sea belonging to the biological classification Sirenia, have been considered to be vulnerable due their large size and slow movement. They also have a low rate of reproduction and tend to live near human communities. They are currently protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act but their numbers have still been declining despite additional efforts of the Manatee Conservation Trust such as the Trinidad and Tobago Manatee Recovery Plan drafted in 2002.

    The manatee has typically inhabited the Nariva Swamp, which is protected under the Forests Act, and has also been able to migrate into other areas such as the Mitan and Ortoire Rivers and the Lebranche and Salybia Rivers in the rainy seasons. Since then, the main threats to their existence have been:

    • Getting caught up by fishing gear inclusive of abrasions by fishing boats

    • Illegal Poaching

    • Destruction of Mangroves

    • Land Reclamation

    • Sedimentation

    • Contamination of Agriculture

    • Tourism Activities

    How can you help?

    • Be aware of the manatee’s typical habitat and latest sightings in the north eastern wetlands especially Nariva Swamp. Slow down and look out for them when passing on a boat near those areas.

    • Do not contribute to the destruction of the natural habitat of the manatee i.e. avoid contamination of rivers and destruction of mangroves.

    • Know who to contact when a manatee is has been sighted so that others can be aware of their most recent habitats:

    EMA: (868) 628-8042/ 8044-5
    Manatee Conservation Trust: (868) 620-4878
    Ministry of Housing and the Environment Forestry Division-Wildlife Section: (868)645-4288

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