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5-West Indian Manatee_ENG


									Biology, Strandings and
         of the
West Indian Manatee…
   …with a focus on the
French speaking Caribbean

                  John Reynolds
            Marine Mammal Commission
             Mote Marine Laboratory
        Manatee Life History

   Long lifespan
   Slow to reproduce
   Can have early onset of sexual
   Adult female survival is critical
Photo : K. Glaser
                   Trichechus manatus:     Vulnerable
                   T. m. manatus:          Endangered
                   T.m. latirostris:       Endangered

                   For Antillean manatee:
                    --- patchy, discontinuous distribution
                    --- fewer than 2,500 mature individuals
                    --- found in 19 countries / territories
                    --- Belize / Mexico population is largest
Photo : K. Glaser

                          French Caribbean

                   Haiti --- status unknown -- < 100
                   French Guiana --- perhaps 100
                   Guadeloupe --- extirpated
                   Martinique --- extirpated

Diverse and poorly documented
     Habitat destruction
     Toxicants and toxins
     Watercraft
     Hunting
     Incidental taking in nets
     Disturbance
      Conservation of manatees

   Must identify and mitigate threats
   Monitoring vs. solving the

   For some local populations it may be
    too late
   An interesting solution in Guadeloupe
Photo : K. Glaser

        Possible reintroduction of the Antillean
        manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus)
            in the Grand Cul-de-sac marin
            (Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles)
                    Hervé Magnin, Sandra Pédurthe, Dana Wetzel and John E. Reynolds
                                    Parc national de la Guadeloupe – Mote Marine Laboratory (Florida)

                               Photo : PNG
                    Site of the project
Photo : K. Glaser

                           French Region, Lesser Antilles

                                     Site of the project
Photo : K. Glaser

                                                     Park core zones:
                                                   (strongly protected)
                                                        21,897 ha

                       Park marine
                    partnership zones:
                        130,800 ha
                                                     Park partnership
                                                     zones: 94,064 ha

                             Site of the project
                     Focus on the Grand Cul-de-sac marin bay
                                  About 15,000 ha
Photo : K. Glaser

                               Coral reef
                              (25km long)
                                                     6 Park core
    Seagrass beds
              (5,544 ha)


                                         Site of the project
                                 Focus on the Grand Cul-de-sac marin bay
Photo : K. Glaser

                    ► RAMSAR site
                                                 Photo : PNG

                    ► Human activities                                       Photo : PNG

                    - Tourism (boat, kayaks...)
                    - Fishery (small boats with gillnets
                        and a majority of traps)
                    - Diving and snorkelling
                    - Boat traffic/transit

                       Photo : PNG
                                                               Photo : PNG                                      12
                                                                                           Photo : C. Bouchon
                                    Context and issues
Photo : K. Glaser

                    ► Extirpation of manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus)
                    in Guadeloupe at the beginning of the 20th century

                     mainly hunted for food

                    ► Project = one strategic target of official management
                    documents (management plan of National Park since 1998)
                              Context and issues
Photo : K. Glaser

             Ecological and conservation benefits
             ► Reverse the loss of biodiversity in Guadeloupe
             ► Improve the global conservation status of the
               species and subspecies
             ► Provide a transferable model for other conservation
             ► Improve the quality of bay environment

             Economic benefits
             ► Develop sustainable tourism

             Social benefits
             ► National/Federal project
                (involvement of all Guadeloupe stakeholders)
                                 What do we have ?
Photo : K. Glaser

                    Feasibility study of the reintroduction (2002)
             Assessment of the Mote Marine Laboratory
  (Reynolds and Wetzel, 2008 ; workshop in April, 2008, Guadeloupe)

                                                                 Photo : S. Mège - PNG
                           Photo : S. Pédurthe - PNG
                                     What do we have ?
Photo : K. Glaser

                    Factors that will contribute to the possible success:
                    - The large area of seagrass beds (about 5,544 ha) within a
                      protected marine park
                    - Presence of relatively little boat traffic
                    - Relatively few other apparent threats (fishnets, industry...)
                    - General acceptance of agency scientists, managers, politicians,
                      and local citizens around the Grand Cul-de-sac marin
                    - An established and effective infrastructure with funding and
                      other support from the government
                                       What do we have ?
Photo : K. Glaser

                    And, recently...

                    … A project presented by France at the COP to the SPAW
                    protocol (September 2008), was accepted and included in the
                    action plan for the conservation of marine mammals and
                    soon in the regional management plan for the West Indian
                    Manatee (UNEP/CEP Program).
                    The Guadeloupe National Park project
Photo : K. Glaser

       Three general phases:

      Throughout the entire project
      - Education and training of Park Service and other scientists
      - Public awareness program
      - Education (partnership with Ministry of Education)
      - Communication among stakeholders at all levels
      - Participation and organization of conferences and workshops
      - Exchanges of personnel with other countries
                        The Guadeloupe National Park project
Photo : K. Glaser                Preparation Phase

                    ► Term : about 3 years

                    ► The beginning : 2009

                    ► Site preparation

                    ► Identification of potential individuals (or parent
                    populations) for reintroduction (~15 animals from
                    different locations/sources over 5 years)
                    The Guadeloupe National Park project
Photo : K. Glaser            Acquisition Phase
              Research and capacity building
                ► In the Grand-Cul-de-Sac marin
               Studies and actions about: environmental
              contaminants, socio-economic benefits, genetic variability,
              threat management...
               Facility development: soft release areas and care center
                ► The manatee populations in the Caribbean region
               Facilitating a cooperative network
               ► International conventions and agreements
               Ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, rules and
               ► International scientific community
               Meaningful involvement of international scientists
                         The Guadeloupe National Park project
Photo : K. Glaser                       Monitoring Phase

                    ► Begins with the first release

                    ► Consists of :
                    - Satellite monitoring and radiotracking to study the
                    adaptation, behavior, and identification of high use areas

                    - Monitoring of the environment (seagrass beds,
                      human activities, habitat use...)

                    - Monitoring of stakeholder responses
                              Important precautions
Photo : K. Glaser

                    With the population from which manatees will come:
                     Ensure minimal impact on these populations

                     - Take animals from relatively large populations
                     - Use captive animals whenever possible / feasible
                     - Take animals from a healthy and fertile population
                     - Take care to avoid injury to animals during the capture
                     - Monitor the founder populations after the capture of
                        animals to study the population behavior

                    With the people of the collaborating countries:
                     Ensure good communication and transparency with
                       regard to the status of the manatees and the
                             Conservation benefits...
Photo : K. Glaser

                    …For the West Indian manatee:

                    ► Improvement of the knowledge leading to
                        improved manatee conservation
                    ► Improvement of the global conservation status
                    of the subspecies (avoiding the fate of the baiji)
                    ► Stimulation of other conservation projects
                    ► Establishment of a cooperative network
                        between scientists and citizens for biodiversity
                    Conservation benefits…
Photo : K. Glaser

          … For Guadeloupe:

          ► Restoration of biodiversity
          ► Improvement of the quality of bay environment
          ► Improvement of the management of the bay
          ► Involvement of all Guadeloupe stakeholders for
             a federally-sanctioned environmental project
          ► Development of sustainable tourism
Monitoring Caribbean manatees

   Aerial surveys
   Boat based surveys, including side scan
   Interviews
   Tagging and health assessments
   Strandings

   In Florida, we can have more than 1 per day!!!
   Protocols similar to other marine mammals…but
    specializations for herbivory are obvious
It takes a lot of guts to
   study manatees…
   Greater need for proactive management than
    for monitoring, even though better scientific
    data would help inform and focus
   Manatees have been documented broadly
    throughout the Caribbean but are vulnerable
   Creativity…dedication…stakeholder buy-in
    are all important
   The Guadeloupe reintroduction provides an
    interesting model

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