A manatee calf that was orphaned and rescued near the beach in Old Belize today is now at his new home, the Wildtracks Manatee Rehabilitation Centre in Sarteneja Village. Chief Coordinator of the Belize Manatee Conservation Program, Jamal Galvez, says they were informed of a stranded calf this morning and immediately a team from the Coastal zone was sent to rescue the mammal which they handed over to the rehab specialists, WildTracks.
Jamal Galvez – Program Coordinator, Belize Manatee Conservation
“The guys from coastal zone went out there and retrieve the animal and from there we transported it to Orange walk where we transferred it to Representatives from Wild Tracks who will rehabilitate the animal she is very skinny, may have been away from his mother for a couple days or not eaten much so the most important thing right now is to give some fluid to the animal and see how is going to react these guys have done very good work in terms of rehabilitation and we are leaving it in their hands and we are hoping for the best for the little guy noh. Sometimes mother and calf get separated due to water craft and the first thing for the mother is to get out of the way and these animals communicate with very low volume and sometimes they away far from each other and they cannot communicate to get back together and a calf this age won’t survive on its own and they are very depended ton their mother for two to three years so this guy is deemed very lucky to have been found in that area not trafficked by people and so I am hoping for the best.”
Director of Wildtracks, Paul Walker, says the calf, although visibly battered, was rescued in time and his prospects for survival, are quite good.
Paul Walker - Director of Wild-tracks
“He’s been separated from his mother for ten days I would think and he is very, very starved when we turned him over his belly was very wrinkled all his fat and muscles is gone and the faeces that he has is green it means that he was trying to eat sea grass and he far too young to eat sea grass but the fact is that he has been rescued and transported and his prospects are quite good and no serious injuries but minor cuts all along the seawall on the beach coast but nothing too serious a life threatening from that so all seem pretty good and he can join the other manatee we have at the moment so with luck he should be stable and lucky within a couple of weeks. This is a calf just a few weeks old and probably he will be in rehab probably for three years to get as much as 350 pounds because that is the size we release them so he got a long growing period. This is manatee number five and we can accommodate and we are going to have to build more pools to accommodate the growing number.”
The calf is estimated to be 3 weeks old. Of note is that Belize is home to the West Indian Manatees. This species ranges from Florida to Brazil, and is divided into two sub-species. The sub-species in Belize are the Antillean manatee – Belize is the stronghold for this endangered subspecies, with a population estimated between 800 to 1,000.
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