Manatees in danger of extinction
in Dominican Republic
The Antillean Manatee or “marine cow” (Trichechus manatus) has always had deep ties with Caribbean culture. They are a peaceful and friendly species that enjoy resting in warm shallow coastal waters and slow moving rivers, where they eat undersea vegetation, accompanied by dolphins and sea turtles. They are solitary and calm animals. And until about a century ago, it was quite common to see groups of them swimming in packs across the Caribbean.
Here in the La Romana – Bayahibe area sightings still happen, but they are extremely rare. For example, in March of 2013 an adult manatee was spotted in the Marina Casa de Campo, and they are still occasionally spotted along the Bayahibe-Dominicus coast and in the waters surrounding the National Park of the East (Parque Nacional del Este), including Saona Island.
This species is the only one in the Caribbean, and therefore a very unique species, unfortunately they are one of the most endangered aquatic mammals in the entire Caribbean. They are protected by Dominican law since 1938, and the fishing and selling of these creatures was made illegal expanded the areas of protection for them. The Dominican Republic is also a signatory in various international pacts that protect the Antillean Manatees.
In the Dominican Republic, we can observe some cases in National Park of the East (Parque Nacional del Este). There was a tragic incident in 2012 where a fisherman gravely mistreated a baby manatee, but thanks to the combined efforts of FUNDEMAR, Dressel Divers, the park rangers, the National Aquarium, and the La Romana – Bayahibe Hotel Association, the poor thing was rescued.
Saturday 13th of June 2012, a baby manatee, was spotted in the “Parque Nacional del Este” national park area and thanks to the “Fundación Dominicana de Estudios Marinos” (The Dominican Foundation for Marine Research), otherwise known as FUNDEMAR, the manatee was successfully reunited with it’s parents.
As part of our patrimony and our natural landscape, the responsibility to care for them also falls upon the Dominican people so that they might survive to live to continue within Caribbean culture and in the Earth’s biodiversity for generations to come. So what can you do? If you see a manatee, please report the sighting to FUNDEMAR (The Dominican Foundation for Marine Research) on (829) 714-0616 or email@example.com.
Post info source: www.casadecampoliving.com