VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 28 POSTED ON: 10/9/2011
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
"5-West Indian Manatee_ENG"