5-West Indian Manatee_ENG

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					Biology, Strandings and
     Conservation
         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
    maturation
   Adult female survival is critical
                                Manatees
Photo : K. Glaser
                             Caribbean-wide
                   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
                              Manatees
Photo : K. Glaser

                          French Caribbean

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




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
    problems…

   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




                           Guadeloupe
                           French Region, Lesser Antilles




                                                            9
                                     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




                                                                          10
                             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
                                                     areas/zones
    Seagrass beds
              (5,544 ha)




                                                       Mangroves



                                                                   11
                                         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
               projects
             ► 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)
                                          and
             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:
      Preparation----Acquisition----Monitoring


      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
                agreements
               ► 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
                       environment
                             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
                        restoration
                    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
                 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…
              Conservation
   Greater need for proactive management than
    for monitoring, even though better scientific
    data would help inform and focus
    management
   Manatees have been documented broadly
    throughout the Caribbean but are vulnerable
    everywhere
   Creativity…dedication…stakeholder buy-in
    are all important
   The Guadeloupe reintroduction provides an
    interesting model

				
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posted:10/9/2011
language:English
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