Title: Sirenews
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099157/00020
 Material Information
Title: Sirenews newsletter of the IUCNSSC Sirenia Specialist Group
Alternate Title: Siren news
Physical Description: v. : ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources -- Sirenia Specialist Group
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources -- Sirenia Specialist Group
Publisher: IUCN/SSC Sirenia Specialist Group
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Washington D.C
Publication Date: October 1993
Frequency: two no. a year[apr. 1984-]
Subject: Sirenia -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Marine mammals -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Additional Physical Form: Also issued via the World Wide Web.
Dates or Sequential Designation: No. 1 (Apr. 1984)-
Issuing Body: Supported 1984-Apr. 1992 by the Species Survival Commission of IUCN, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission; Oct. 1992 by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Apr. 1993-Oct. 1994 by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission; <Oct. 1995>- by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and Sea World, Inc.
General Note: Title from caption.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: No. 48 (Oct. 2007).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099157
Volume ID: VID00020
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 35841617
lccn - 2009208704
issn - 1017-3439


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Full Text
Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year

Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year
in April and October and is edited by Daryl P. Domning,
Department of Anatomy, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 20059 USA
(fax: 202-265-7055). It is supported by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission.


IN BRAZIL (p. 5)




The state and various county governments of Florida have for several years been locked in
a series of agonizing disputes with the boating industry and commercial and recreational
boaters over regulation of waterborne activities for manatee protection. Where boat-speed and
other regulations have been implemented, there are encouraging signs that manatee mortality
from watercraft impacts may be abating. However, the struggle to enact such regulations in the
remaining critical areas only seems to get harder as, with every passing month, the numbers of
people and boats in Florida increase. According to Dr. Miriam Marmontel, computer models of
the manatees' population structure show that their situation is precarious: their predicted
survival or decline to extinction in the state is highly sensitive to changes in mortality rates,
and there seems to be no room for error in those estimates that predict survival (see abstract in
this issue).

It is clear that the future of manatees in Florida, not to mention other species in other parts
of the world, depends critically on self-restraint by humans of their own numbers and per-
capita environmental impact. Apart from our moral obligation to preserve endangered

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species for our descendants, federal legislation such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act of
1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 mandates whatever actions are needed to
maintain a viable manatee population. I submit that the time has come to address seriously the
issue of human population growth in this country, and to do so in part by setting national and
regional goals for a desirable total population size.
Why do this now? Why start doing it here (in Florida or the USA)? And most of all,
why should we (the sirenian research/conservation community, or the marine mammalogy
community in general) be talking about it, let alone taking the lead in it?
We need to do it now because manatees and other endangered species can't wait. The
increasingly strained physical environment can't wait. On a global scale, the exploding
numbers of destitute human beings can't wait. This also happens to be an opportune time:
public appreciation of the problems and the stakes is at an all-time high, and the new political
atmosphere in Washington is relatively conducive to addressing these problems. A "Warning
to Humanity", circulated by the Union of Concerned Scientists and endorsed by more than
1,670 scientists from 71 countries (including 104 Nobel laureates), states that "we must accept
limits" to population growth and stabilize the world's population without delay. Furthermore,
governments of all countries have been requested to prepare national population reports for the U.
N. International Conference on Population and Development to be held in Cairo, Egypt, 5-24
September 1994. What form the United States' report takes, and how close it comes to
meeting the need for a realistic and prudent national population policy, will depend largely on
the extent and effectiveness of the demand for such a policy.
We need to do it here in the U.S. because of the deteriorating environmental situation
here (especially in Florida), and because if we can't do it here we can hardly expect others to do
it elsewhere. The developing nations are rightly indignant over the developed nations'
attempts to portray overpopulation as strictly a Third World problem. As long ago as 1972, the
Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, appointed by President Nixon,
concluded, "after two years of concentrated effort," that "no substantial benefits would result
from continued growth of the nation's population." That is as good a definition of
overpopulation as I know, and that was a generation (and more than 45 million new
Americans) ago.
Finally, WE ought to be the ones to start the ball rolling because we have (a) many
years of hard data showing (b) a dramatic impact on manatee survival by (c) a rapidly growing
human population that is both (d) affluent, educated, and environmentally sophisticated and (e)
having this impact largely through activities that are recreational rather than (as in most of the
world) vital to human survival. As we have said more than once in recent years, manatees are an
ideal test case of human ability and will to protect endangered wildlife: there is simply no
respectable excuse we Americans could give to the world for the demise of manatees in
Furthermore, the official Florida Manatee Recovery Plan has as its stated goal the
downlisting of Florida manatees from "endangered" to "threatened" status. The Plan itself

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specifies that "Downlisting should be considered when ... the population is growing or is
stable, when mortality factors are controlled at acceptable levels or are decreasing, and when
habitats are secure and threats are controlled or are decreasing." Given that human population
growth is aprimafacie mortality factor and threat to the manatees' environment, it is patently
obvious that, despite all the good the Plan may accomplish, the threat cannot possibly decrease as
long as the human population of Florida continues to grow, and therefore the Recovery Plan is
doomed to failure according to its own criteria. The "Recovery Plan" is an excellent
research and management plan, but as it stands it is not a recovery plan.
For these reasons I propose that a careful and objective study be done to estimate, as
nearly as the available data permit, the maximum size of Florida's human population that is
likely to be compatible with the long-term survival of manatees in the state. This would be a
modest yet significant step on the long road to a national population policy. The study could
appropriately be carried out under the auspices of a respected, nonpartisan entity having both
responsibilities for marine mammal protection and a strong history of commitment to it for
example, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (formerly the Department of
Natural Resources), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or (best, perhaps) the U.S. Marine
Mammal Commission. The study should be done by a specially appointed panel of biologists,
demographers, and other qualified specialists. The resulting estimate would stand as a
challenge to the political systems) involved, either to devise acceptable ways of reaching the
implied goal, or to plan for the consequences of not doing so. Even if the study did no more
than stimulate public debate on the issue, this would be a marked improvement over the
present conspiracy of silence among our civic leaders regarding overpopulation.
The slogan's familiarity has not diminished its force: If not now, when? If not us, who? -


Members of the Sirenia Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of the
IUCN met in Sydney, Australia, on 10 July 1993, as part of a workshop on sirenians and
seagrasses held during the Sixth International Theriological Congress [see Abstracts, below].
The Sirenia Specialist Group members noted that sirenians have been well studied in relatively
few of the 60 countries whose waters they occupy. Nonetheless, there is growing interest in
developing sirenian research or conservation programs by scientists in countries with unstudied
or poorly studied sirenian populations. In many cases, the scientists possess great enthusiasm,
but lack funds. Some of the scientists wish to initiate expensive, high-technology programs
(e.g., telemetry) at the outset. The Sirenia Specialist Group recommends a more fundamental,
cost-effective approach to initiating a sirenian research or conservation program.
The Sirenia Specialist Group discussed research priorities for unstudied sirenian
populations. The Group recommends the following research activities, listed in the order in

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which they should be implemented:
1) determine the presence or absence of sirenians in the regions;
2) assess overall distribution and define high-use areas;
3) describe general characteristics of important habitats;
4) assess impacts of humans on the animals and plants;
5) evaluate major aspects of population dynamics.

The Sirenia Specialist Group advises that scientists undertaking studies of relatively
unstudied sirenian populations start with fundamentals, including, but not limited to: 1)
becoming familiar with literature dealing with sirenians elsewhere; 2) interviewing local
people who might provide insight regarding presence/absence, important habitat, impacts
(including directed take), and cultural attitudes that might either facilitate or retard
conservation efforts; 3) using knowledge already available and generally applicable (e.g.,
preference for low-fiber seagrasses by dugongs, sirenian gestation periods) as a framework for
developing research questions that may assess area-specific biological traits (e.g., age at first
reproduction); and 4) developing interdisciplinary alliances with specialists (e.g.,
anthropologists, sociologists, ecologists, or Geographic Information System specialists) whose
expertise could be valuable in understanding and conserving sirenians or habitat. The Sirenia
Specialist Group noted that the most important studies of sirenians will develop long-term
databases, which probably can only be maintained by developing local/regional expertise,
enthusiasm, and financial support.
The sirenians are "flagship species", a term reflecting in this context their visibility and
the enthusiasm with which the public often address sirenian-related issues. Efforts to preserve
sirenians may, therefore, be easier to fund or to engender public support for than efforts to
preserve other components of ecosystems. Nonetheless, adequate and appropriate conservation
of sirenians within a particular region will have important consequences for habitat
In this regard, the Sirenia Specialist Group notes that education and awareness efforts
should parallel research to achieve regional goals of sirenian or habitat protection. Education,
like research, should have a local focus, and should be region-specific to accommodate cultural
or socio-economic practices. However, effective education programs also involve educating
managers and administrators who can provide funds for initiation and continuation of
programs, and the scientists themselves (i.e., through familiarity with relevant literature). The
Sirenia Specialist Group recommends that development of multi-focal education programs
accompany development of research programs.
In summary, the Sirenia Specialist Group recommends a step-wise approach to
research, as well as a multi-focal education program, to learn about and conserve unstudied
sirenian populations. A great deal can be learned and accomplished using fundamental
approaches that require neither high levels of funding nor extensive technological expertise. -
John E. Reynolds, III

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The First International Manatee and Dugong Research Conference will take place at the
Hilton Hotel in Gainesville, Florida, Friday-Sunday, 11-13 March, 1994, and will deal with all
aspects of sirenian biology, conservation, and evolution. The conference will include a field trip
to Homosassa Springs on 11 March, with oral and poster presentations on the other two days.
Seven invited speakers will give 30-minute talks, each followed by several 15-minute
contributed papers. The banquet speaker on Saturday evening will be Tom O'Shea.
Those wishing to give a presentation should submit a 1-3 page manuscript (8.5" x 11"
paper, 1" margins, 10-point or larger font) by 1 December 1993. Tables and line drawings
may be incorporated, but not halftones. Indicate your preference for an oral or poster
presentation. Slots for oral presentations are limited and will be allocated by the organizing
committee. Manuscripts, and questions on conference content, can be directed to Roger L.
Reep, Dept. of Physiological Sciences, Box 100144 JHMHC, University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32610; phone (904) 392-4700, ext. 3859; fax (904) 392-5145; Internet
Established investigators, students, and interested lay people are encouraged to attend.
Each attendee will receive at the meeting a bound volume of the papers presented at the
meeting. Participation is limited to 250 people. Registration costs are $70 for non-student
participants, $30 for students; late registration (after 1 December) is $110 or $50, respectively.
The charge for the banquet is $18, and for the field trip, $15 (lunch included). For
registration, contact Pat Neilson, University of Florida, IFAS Office of Conferences, P.O.
Box 110750, Gainesville, FL 32611-0750; phone (904) 392-5930; fax (904) 392-9734.


A marine mammal research and conservation e-mail discussion list has been
established, using the listserver at the University of Victoria. The purpose of this is to facilitate
discussion regarding research and conservation of marine mammals, as well as for posting
conference or meeting announcements, volunteer opportunities, new techniques or equipment
available, new books or journals published, etc.
There is no cost for subscribing. Messages sent to the list (marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca)
will be forwarded to all members subscribing to the list. To subscribe, send a message to the
listserver (listserv@uvvm.uvic.ca or listserv@uvic.bitnet), with a message in the text saying:

subscribe MARMAM your name

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The subject line in the message should be left blank.
Please forward this message to any colleagues working on marine mammal research or
conservation topics. Questions regarding the list can be sent to the list managers, David Duffus
(ddvffvs@uvvm.uvic.ca) or Robin Baird (rbaird@sfu.ca). Robin Baird



New Manatee Journal. The
Brazilian environment agency IBAMA has
inaugurated a new technical journal devoted
entirely to research on the nation's manatees.
Entitled Peixe-Boi, or manatee, it is
published in Portuguese by IBAMA's
National Center for Conservation and
Management of Sirenians, and is edited by
Danielle Paludo.
Publication began in 1992 with Ano
1, No. 1, a spiral-bound issue of 73 pages
containing six articles (see Recent Literature,
below). The contents deal with both
Amazonian and West Indian manatees
and cover such topics as distribution, status,
and conservation in the wild and diet,
growth, behavior, and blood chemistry
of captive animals.
Peixe-Boi (ISSN 0103-9431) has its
editorial offices at the Centro Peixe-
Boi/IBAMA, Av. Dom Pedro II, no. 3484,
Joa-o Pessoa, Parai'ba, CEP 58040-440,
Brazil. All submissions and correspondence
regarding the journal should be directed
to that address. No price for subscriptions is
We congratulate the editor and
publishers of this welcome addition to the
sirenian literature, and wish Peixe-Boi a

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successful future.

Conservation Recommendations. -
The 5a. Reunio'n de Trabajo de Especialistas
en Mami'feros Acua'ticos de Ame'rica del
Sur, held in September of 1992 in Buenos
Aires, Argentina, included a round-table
meeting on the problems of sirenian
conservation in Brazil. This meeting,
coordinated by Ricardo J. Soavinski,
recommended the following (translated
from Portuguese):
1. A survey of the distribution and
occurrence of the Amazonian manatee, and
continuation of surveys of distribution and
occurrence of West Indian manatees in
2. Evaluation and quantification of
incidental entanglements of manatees in
fishing nets, as well as of intentional captures
of manatees for food.
3. Evaluation of the quality of
manatee habitats in Brazil. Evaluation of
heavy-metal and organochlorine levels in
sirenian tissues should be emphasized.
4. Monitoring of manatees in their
principal areas of occurrence and in areas of
demonstrated importance in their life cycles.
5. Studies of population dynamics and
genetics in order to evaluate groups and
6. Creation and establishment of
Conservation Units in priority areas in order
to preserve sirenians and the ecosystem as a
7. Immediate creation of the Barra do
Rio Mamanguape Environmental Protection
Area in Parai'ba; of a conservation unit in
the Rio Timonhas estuary, in Piaui'; and of
another in the coastal region of Tabuba, in

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Alagoas areas of demonstrated importance
for conservation of the West Indian
manatee in the Brazilian Northeast.
8. Development of environmental
education campaigns in the area of
distribution of sirenians, in order to
prevent their extinction.
9. Greater participation of aquatic
mammal specialists in discussions about
sirenians and mustelids in future meetings
and congresses.
10. Extension of these
recommendations to other South
American countries where sirenians occur
and that possibly face the same problems as


Conditions for Captive Manatees
Improved. Rubby Montoya of the
Caribbean Stranding Network (CSN), Puerto
Rico, reports on the status of a young female
West Indian manatee, formerly held in very
inadequate facilities at the Jardin
Zoolo'gico de Barranquilla. Following
unsuccessful attempts to have the animal
transferred to other facilities, the latter
institution has now been taken over from
the city government by a new, privately-
sponsored enterprise, the Fundacio'n
Zoolo'gico de Barranquilla. This new
foundation has promised to treat the
manatee's welfare as its top priority,
implementing some of CSN's
recommendations for improvements in the
animal's diet and contracting more capable
zookeepers. Construction of a new holding
facility and development of managerial and
educational programs are being

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monitored by INDERENA (the
Colombian government's natural resources
agency) and by CSN.
Several other manatees held in CSN-
sponsored semicaptive colonies in the towns
of Magangue' and Pinto were also
examined recently, and found to be in
good health. With the help of CSN and
the Save the Manatee Club (Florida),
educational efforts in Magangue' are also
bearing fruit. A "Club Amigos del
Manati'", comprising 113 high school
students, was created in October 1992.
They have been spreading the word about
manatee conservation to other
schoolchildren, assisting in fieldwork, and
representing their state at a science fair in
Bogota', and are now seen by the
Magangue' community as a symbol of
conservation education for the new


Manatees "Introduced" into
Florida??? In the course of a rancorous
debate like the one presently raging in
Florida over boat speed limits, it is to be
hoped that the parties to the discussion will
try to get their facts straight. This ideal,
however, is not always achieved, as seen
from the inaugural issue of a newsletter
published by the Boat Owners Association
of The United States. In BOAT/U.S.
Reports *Florida, Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1993,
a letter to the editor from Jim Walters of
Jupiter, Florida, is published with an
editorial endorsement stating that "
every once in a while we get a letter on a
controversial issue which is so well written

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that it deserves to be widely shared. Whether
you agree or disagree with Mr. Walters, we
would like to hear from you." Excerpts from
Mr. Walters' letter follow:
"Having been in the marine industry
in our state, I have seen countless numbers of
rules and regulations regarding our
waterways grow, many of them good and
many of them bad.
"Here is my plan to solve the greatest
boating issue placed before the Governor and
Cabinet members: the dispute between the
recreational boaters, the manatee and the
DNR (Florida Dept. of Natural Resources).
"Years ago, manatees were brought
here to Florida and released in the freshwater
canals to eat and maintain the overgrowth of
hyacinths. It seemed to be a good idea, but it
really didn't work. Instead, the giant
manatees worked their way through the
canal network and ventured out into the
intracoastal waterways and ocean. This was
not part of the plan and they easily adapted
to the salt water....
"Like all other endangered animals in
the world, the manatee is faced with the same
problems as the elephant, the rhinoceros and
the buffalo. They have become endangered
because they got in the way of man's
"The current attempt to crush boating
and restrict God's greatest mammal, man,
from his greatest Florida pastime, boating
and water sports, is absolutely ludicrous.
"Let's handle the manatee like all
other endangered species we have dealt with
in the past. We will select for them one of
the largest and most beautiful lakes we have
to offer in Florida. We will build them the
ultimate habitat....

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"Let's get our rescue team out there
and gather up the remaining manatees and
transport them to their new, safe home in the
middle of the state where they can live
happily ever after...." [Emphasis added]
Just for the record, the oldest currently
known Trichechus fossils from Florida are
Early Pleistocene in age (about 1.0-1.5
million years old), and the earliest remains
of any sirenians in the state are Middle
Eocene (around 45 million years old). In fact,
at the moment Florida happens to be the
only place on the planet where fossil
sirenians are known from every
geological epoch from Eocene to Recent!
If you would like to respond to the
invitation of the editors of BOAT/U.S.
Reports *Florida to comment on this letter,
their address is 880 S. Pickett St.,
Alexandria, VA 22304 USA. DPD


Dugong Seminar in Ambon. -
During 7, 8 and 10 April 1993 an
International Seminar was held in Ambon on
Coastal Zone Management of Small Island
Ecosystems, with special reference to
turtle and dugong conservation.
The seminar was funded by the
European Economic Community and was
organized by the Environmental Studies
Centre of the Pattimura University in
Ambon, in cooperation with the National
Science Institute LIPI, AID Environment
Amsterdam, and the Centre for
Environmental Science, Leiden University,
The Netherlands.
Some 65 participants from Indonesia,
Canada, USA, Australia, UK and The

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Netherlands participated in the seminar.
Although its scope covered a wide range of
subjects related to coastal zone management
and marine conservation, the importance of
the seminar for the conservation of Sirenia in
Indonesia was the official recognition of the
need for conservation and proper
management of dugong populations in
Indonesian coastal waters.
The seminar was attended by the
Governor of the Moluccas Province, the
Assistant Minister for the Environment
(representing the Minister), the Ambassador
of the EEC, and the Rector of the Pattimura
During his keynote speech the
Assistant Minister stressed the importance
of the conservation of endangered and
vulnerable marine species such as sea
turtles and dugongs, and the need for an
integrated system of coastal zone
management. Hans de Iongh presented an
overview of the results of ongoing
research on dugong feeding ecology in the
During workshop sessions, the
participants elaborated on a large number of
specific recommendations, such as the
need for further inventories of dugong
populations in Indonesian coastal waters,
the establishment of a National
Conservation Strategy and Action Plan
for Dugongs in Indonesia, and the need to
increase the number of Marine Conservation
The International Seminar also
marked the start of a Coastal Zone
Management Project, funded by the EEC.
Drs. Henk Blaauw, project leader, and
Mark van der Wal, ecologist, have been

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assigned to this project to assist the staff of
the Environmental Studies Centre of the
Pattimura University to implement
coastal zone inventories, mapping,
planning, and a range of pilot projects in
support of coastal communities. A specific
research programme, with cooperation
between Dutch and Indonesian staff and
students, covers the distribution, migration,
and feeding ecology of dugongs in the
Further information on the project and
the seminar proceedings can be obtained
through: Drs. Henk Blaauw, Mark van der
Wal, and Desi Norimarna, Environmental
Programme Maluku (EPM), POB 221,
Ambon, Indonesia (telephone 62-911-61236;
fax 62-911-61455). Hans de longh


Does the Dugong Occur in Omani
Waters? From our knowledge of the
present world distribution of the dugong (e.
g., Thornback & Jenkins, 1982, IUCN
Mammal Red Data Book; Bertram &
Bertram, 1973, Biol. J. Linn. Soc.), it is not
expected along the coast of eastern Arabia
except as stray migrants, but there are only
two references to this ever occurring: remarks
attributed to W. Travis to the effect that there
are "occasional strays at Mukalla and Kuria
Muria Islands" (Bertram & Bertram, 1973:
307), and mentions of Bab el Mandeb in
the past (Preen, 1989, MEPA Coastal &
Marine Management Series (Saudi Arabia),
Rept. #10, Vol. 1).
Oman has a coastline in excess of
1800 km between Yemen and the Arabian
Gulf, so the question "Does the dugong occur

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in Omani waters?" has never been far from
our thoughts. It gained prominence again
during the preparation of the Whale Hall
extension (opened in December 1992) to the
Oman Natural History Museum at Muscat,
where we were able to include one exhibit
exclusively for the dugong, its range, status,
habits and threats.
Beds of seagrasses along the coast of
Oman are small, sparse and ephemeral
(IUCN, 1988, Oman: Coastal Zone
Management Plan Quriyat to Ra's al
Hadd, Report for Ministry of Commerce &
Industry, Oman), with the notable exception
of the area of Barr al Hikman (opposite the
island of Masirah), and the Ghubbat
Hashish in particular. Here Salm (1991,
Shoreland and Marine Environments,
Sultanate of Oman, Report for Ministry of
Commerce & Industry, Oman) reports the
densest and greatest variety of seagrasses in
the Sultanate, with at least five genera
present (Halodule, Halophila, Thalassia,
Thalassodendron, and Syringodium), all of
potential use to dugongs, which, however,
have never been reported here.
When it was suggested by other States
during the Gulf War that dugongs under
threat in the Arabian Gulf might be
translocated to Oman, we pointed out that
though the area just mentioned seemed
suitable, the fact that dugongs were not
present was probably an indication of its
unsuitability, particularly because this coast
is affected by the very cold current generated
by the strong winds of the southwest
monsoon of summer.
So far, our searches on the islands and
the coast of Oman during the last 17 years
have yielded no evidence of dugongs.

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However, dugongs may very occasionally
stray eastward in the Arabian Gulf to reach
Omani shores in the Musandam region.
Individuals may also occur in Omani waters
when on passage between the populations of
the Red Sea and Africa and those to the east,
when they would not necessarily keep to
shallow water or pause to feed.
Nevertheless, the report of "occasional
strays ... on the Kuria Muria Islands"
attributed to Travis is most unusual, and
it would be good to have confirmation of
this. Michael D. Gallagher (Natural
History Museum, P.O. Box 668, Muscat
113, Sultanate of Oman, fax 602735)


New Newsletter. The Caribbean
Stranding Network (Red Cariben-a de
Varamientos) has begun publication (in
Spanish) of a newsletter entitled Alerta
Neptuno. The first issue came out in
March 1993, the second in June, and
subsequent issues are scheduled to appear
every three months. Regular features will
deal with research, rescue and
rehabilitation, and public education
concerning endangered aquatic fauna,
including manatees. The editor is Gloribel
Delgado (Apartado 908, Lajas, PR 00667-
As part of its development efforts, the
Caribbean Stranding Network is also opening
membership to supporters and sponsors
(US$10/year student membership, $15
individual, $25 family, as well as higher-
level sponsor and corporate memberships).
The benefits of membership include a
subscription to Alerta Neptuno. Further

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information can be obtained from the address
We wish the Stranding Network the
best of luck with its newsletter and
membership drive, and anticipate that these
will make valuable contributions to marine
conservation efforts in the Caribbean region.

Radiotelemetry and Hematology
Projects. During May 1993, biologists of
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS)
Sirenia Project began the second stage of a
manatee radiotracking project in Puerto Rico.
Other participants included the Caribbean
Stranding Network, the Department of
Marine Sciences of the University of Puerto
Rico, the FWS Caribbean Field Office, the
Department of Natural Resources, and the
U.S. Navy.
The project seeks to investigate the
migratory patterns of manatees on Puerto
Rico's east coast, specifically within the
Roosevelt Roads Naval Base. Three males
were tagged in 1992. According to Jim Reid
and Bob Bonde, the project's directors, these
animals often moved large distances in the
course of a day, but individual movement
patterns differed significantly. This year,
three more manatees were tagged with
Blood samples were also taken for a
study of comparative hematology in manatees
from Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Florida.
This project, which will serve as Rubby
Montoya's master's thesis, aims to establish
normal blood-chemistry parameters for the
Antillean manatee. Skin samples are also
being taken for individual identification and
studies of the genetics of the Caribbean
manatee population. (Translated and

Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year

abridged from Alerta Neptuno 1(2), June


Surrogate Mothers for Dugongs???
- The following excerpts are from an article
that appeared in the Bangkok Post in early
May 1993:
"WANTED: A tender-loving woman
volunteer to breast-feed a baby dugong who
has lost his mother. Mermaids need not
"A stray baby dugong housed at the
Marine Biological Centre in Phuket
desperately needs a generous woman to be
his 'mother', Fisheries Department chief
Plodprasop Suraswadi told the Bangkok
Post on May 3.
"The baby dugong needs a woman
volunteer to be with him at least three hours
a day to nurse him and breast-feed him, Mr
Plodprasop said.
"Mr Plodprasop said the baby marine
mammal was thought to be about six months
old when he was caught unintentionally by
fishing nets at night on April 22 off
Phumriang beach in Chaiya District of Surat
Thani Province....
"The baby dugong was 97 centimetres
long and 14 kilogrammes in weight ....
"The problem, he said, is that the
baby dugong refuses to take milk from a
bottle and the centre officials may have to try
breast-feeding from a woman...."
Sirenews looks forward to hearing
from readers the denouement of this story.


Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year

Manatee Research Base
Established. Project Mermaid, an
expedition from the University of Newcastle
upon Tyne (UK), traveled to the Gulf of
Paria, Sucre State, Venezuela (see Sirenews
No. 19). Over a period of three months (July
to September 1992) the team constructed a
9m x 4m floating platform. This was sailed
over 100 km to the study river, Cano La
Brea. Surveying from dugout canoes over a
period of 20 days, the team made 14
records of manatees (Trichechus mauniatus)
in the 30 km of navigable river. Of the 14
records, ten were considered to be
"definite", two to be "probable" and two
to be "possible". Seven of the records are
of between one and five manatees feeding
on floating and submerged vegetation
(Pistia stratiotes, Lemna sp., and
Myriophyllum sp.), a further two records are
of manatees resting just below the surface,
and three records are of manatees traveling
along the cano. Examination of feces
revealed grasses (Gramineae), black
mangrove (Avicennia nitida), and
Rhabdadenia biflora. Black mangrove only
occurs in the first 7 km from the mouth of
the cano; the feces containing black
mangrove were collected 30 km upstream,
indicating significant manatee movements.
The results from this brief survey
indicate that Cano La Brea is an excellent
wet-season habitat for manatees. Of great
importance is the possibility raised by O'Shea
et al. (Biol. Conserv. 46: 281-301, 1988) that
in the dry season Cano La Brea forms a
feeding sanctuary for manatees from a wider
area. Cano La Brea, along with Rio Morichal
Largo (Maturin State), are unique in the area
in that they are deep freshwater streams that

Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year

provide access to savanna feeding areas,
unlike the majority of mangrove-lined canos
which are accessible for feeding only at high
tide. If manatees do use the cano as a refuge
in the dry season, then Cano La Brea is of
critical importance for the manatee in
Project Mermaid is applying for
charity status. Members of the original team
are returning to the floating platform in
January 1994, to commence six months'
continuous research on the river. This will
include a feasibility study for the use of
radiotelemetry, as well as research on the
area's other wildlife. The floating platform is
established as a research base and the team
is interested in hearing from manatee
specialists who would like to visit the area
with research in mind. At present, providing
sufficient funding can be found, Project
Mermaid intends to support an
Environmental Impact Assessment and
Management Plan, to be undertaken by
Provita, A Venezuelan non-governmental
conservation society, starting in late 1994.
Contact: Project Mermaid, Trees Cottage,
Froxfield, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU32
1DN, UK (fax: 0263-71-3100). Richard


Sirenian Bibliography. Domning's
Bibliography and Index of the Sirenia and
Desmostylia has been formally accepted for
publication in Smithsonian Contributions to
Paleobiology. Funds are now being obtained
to support its publication, which is expected
to take place during 1994. Stay tuned for
further bulletins, and please send me copies

Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year

of your publications as promptly as possible,
since the database will be closed sometime in
the next few weeks. DPD


The following two abstracts, here translated from Portuguese, are of papers presented by
personnel from INPA (Manaus, Brazil) at the 5a Reunio'n de Trabajo de Especialistas en
Mami'feros Acua'ticos de Ame'rica del Sur, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 28 Sept.-2 Oct.

Hematocrit, Hemoglobin and Mineral Content of the Serum of the Amazonian Manatee
(Trichechus inunguis) (Kesa K. Lehti & Fernando C. W. Rosas). We analyzed blood
samples from 8 Amazonian manatees, 5 males and 3 females held captive at INPA, to
determine hematocrit and hemoglobin. The serum of the same animals was analyzed by
atomic absorption spectrophotometry to determine the concentrations of zinc, sodium, copper,
magnesium, manganese, iron, and calcium. The hematocrit varied between 23 and 34% (mean
27%), and the hemoglobin between 10.9 and 15.2%. The levels of zinc varied from 6.25 to 8.0
ppm; sodium, 7.209-8.331 ppm; copper, 0.51-0.91 ppm; magnesium, 26.08-26.74 ppm; iron,
1.11-2.00 ppm; and calcium, 39.5-56.5 ppm. Manganese was not present in any sample. The
low hematocrit values obtained in this study, though similar to others obtained for the
Amazonian manatee (32-35%, mean 33%), are probably due to monotony of the diet provided
since 1986. These results are lower than the hematocrit values cited for T. nianatis (39.3-
46.6%), whereas the hemoglobin values are similar for both species. The sodium
concentrations are almost double those cited in the literature for T. nianatis (3.412-3.471 ppm;
Irvine et al., 1980; Medway et al., 1982), whereas the magnesium values were half those found
in the West Indian manatee (53.49 ppm). The calcium values are much lower than those for
T nianatus (348.7-412.8 ppm). The concentrations of the other elements could not be compared
due to lack of published data.

Growth of Amazonian manatee Calves Raised on Artificial Milk (Fernando C. Weber
Rosas). Techniques of raising Trichechus inunguis calves have been developed by the
Laboratory of Aquatic Mammals of INPA, which has successfully raised calves orphaned by
the illegal hunting that continues in the region. These animals are nursed for 1-2 years with
powdered milk enriched with soy oil, using special nursing bottles. Size and weight data were
analyzed for 15 manatees raised at INPA. The sexes were analyzed separately, but no
significant differences between them were found. The equations obtained to express the
growth in length (1) and weight (2), after testing the linearity of the relations, were:
Ct (cm) = 96.764 + 2.749 X (months), n=236, r=0.86 (1)
Pt (kg) = 11.696 + 3.502 X (months), n=262, r=0.86 (2)

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The relation weight/length obtained for the 15 calves was:
Pt (kg) = 5.105x10-6.Ct3.31 (cm), n=233, r=0.97.
Although the growth data presented here pertain to animals raised on artificial milk,
they are very similar to data for T. manatuls nursed by their mothers (Odell, 1978).

The following abstracts are of papers and posters presented at the Sixth International
Theriological Congress held in Sydney, Australia, 4-10 July 1993.


Anonymous. 1993. Sea cows under threat. Down to Earth, Apr. 30, 1993: 42. [Dugongs
in India.]

Aubert, A. 1992. La rhytine de Steller, un grand sirenien du Pacifique nord
maintenant disparu. Boreales 50/53: 15-22.

Blair, D., and B.E.T. Hudson. 1992. Population structure of Lankatrematoides
gardneri (Digenea: Opisthotrematidae) in the pancreas of the dugong (Dugong
dugon) (Mammalia: Sirenia). Jour. Parasitol. 78(6): 1077-1079.

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Bol, J. 1989. Olifanten en andere slurfdragers [Elephants and other tusk-bearers].
Grondboor en Hamer 43(3): 688-75. [In Dutch. Mentions "Dysmostylus".]

Bonde, R.K. 1993. Manatees in Florida: a personal perspective. Whalewatcher 27(1): 16-

Bradley, J.L., S.D. Wright, and P.M. McGuire. 1993. The Florida manatee: cytochrome
b DNA sequence. Mar. Mamm. Sci. 9(2): 197-202.

Brown, J. 1993. Did dugongs die of muddy water? Bodies on beaches linked to lazy
farming. BBC Wildlife 11(4): 11. [Dugong mortality in Hervey Bay, Australia.]

Brown, L.N. 1991. Sea mammals: Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean. Miami,
Windward Publishing, Inc.: 1-64.

Brown, R.C. 1988. Florida's fossils. Guide to location, identification and
enjoyment. Sarasota, Pineapple Press: 1-208.

Colares, E.P., I.G. Colares, and A.D. Pinto do Amaral. 1992. Para^metros
bioqui'micos do sangue do peixe-boi da Amazo^nia (Trichechus inunguis; Mammalia:
Sirenia). Peixe-Boi 1(1): 19-25.

Colares, I.G., and E.P. Colares. 1992. Prefere^ncia alimentar do peixe-boi da
Amazo^nia em cativeiro. Peixe-Boi 1(1): 26-32.

Czyzewska, T., and A. Radwanski. 1991. Middle Miocene (Badenian) delphinid
and phocoenid remains from the Fore-Carpathian Depression in southern Poland. Acta
Geol. Polonica 41(3-4): 183-191. [Mentions fossil sirenians from Poland.]

Dietz, T. 1992. The call of the siren: manatees and dugongs. Golden (Colorado),
Fulcrum Publishing: xii + 196.

Erftemeijer, P.L.A., Djunarlin, and W. Moka. 1993. Stomach content analysis of a
dugong (Dugong dugon) from South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Austral. Jour. Mar. Freshwater
Res. 44(1): 229-233.

Furusawa, H., T. Maeda, S. Yamashita, T. Sagayama, Y. Igarashi, and M. Kimura.
1993. Geologic age and paleoenvironment of marine mammal fossils from Numata-
cho, Hokkaido. Earth Science (Chikyu Kagaku) 47(2)(245): 133-145. [In Japanese;
Engl. summ.]

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Gallagher, W.B., D.C. Parris, B.S. Grandstaff, and C. DeTample. 1989.
Quaternary mammals from the continental shelf off New Jersey. Mosasaur 4: 101-110.

Gray, J. 1988. Evolution of the freshwater ecosystem: the fossil record.
Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclim. Palaeoecol. 62(1-4): 1-214.

Grubel da Silva, K., D. Paludo, E.M.A. de Oliveira, R. Pinto de Lima, and R.J.
Soavinski. 1992. Distribuic,a-o e ocorre^ncia do peixe-boi marinho (Trichechus
manatus) no estua'rio do Rio Mamanguape, Parai'ba Brasil. Peixe-Boi 1(1): 6-18.

Grubel da Silva, K., R.J. Soavinski, E.M.A. de Oliveira, and M.C.M. Kohler.
1992. Alimentac,a-o, crescimento e comportamento em cativeiro de um filhote o'rfa-o
de peixe-boi marinho (Trichechus manatus, Linnaeus, 1758). Peixe-Boi 1(1): 33-41.

Jacobs, F. 1991. Sam the sea cow. New York, Walker & Co.: 1-47. [Children's book
on Florida manatees. First published in 1979 as Sewer Sam, the sea cow.]

Kadel, J.J. 1992. The great white manatee. Underwater Naturalist 21(2): 15-16.

Ketten, D.R., D.K. Odell, and D.P. Domning. 1992. Structure, function, and adaptation
of the manatee ear. In: J. Thomas, R. Kastelein, and A. Supin (eds.), Marine Mammal
Sensory Systems. New York, Plenum Press: 77-95.

Kingdon, J. 1991. Arabian mammals: a natural history. London, Academic Press.

Kohno, N., and Y. Takaizumi. 1992. The first record of the halitheriine dugongid
(Sirenia: Dugongidae) in the western North Pacific Ocean. Fossils (Tokyo) No. 53: 1-
6. [In Japanese; Engl. summ.]

Lal Mohan, R.S. 1993. Struggle for survival: the threatened dolphins and sea cows.
Frontline (India), Mar. 12, 1993: 80-81.

Layne, J.N. 1993. [Review of] Manatees and dugongs [by] J.E. Reynolds, III, and D.
K. Odell. Florida Field Nat. 21(1): 22.

Loerzel, S., and R.L. Reep. 1991. Rindenkeme: unusual neuron aggregates in
manatee cerebral cortex. Intl. Assoc. Aquatic Anim. Med. Proc. 22: 166-171.

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Loyer, B. 1993. How now, sea cow? BBC Wildlife 11(10): 54-55. [Describes a
photographer's unusual encounter with a lone dugong in Vanuatu. The film of this
encounter was shown at the sirenian workshop in Sydney, where it aroused considerable

Morales Vela, B., and L.D. Olivera Gomez. 1991. Mamiferos acuaticos. In: T.
Camarena-Luhrs & S. Salazar-Vallejo (eds.), Estudios ecologicospreliminares de la
zona sur de Quintana Roo. Chetumal (Mexico), Centro de Investigaciones de Quintana
Roo: 172-185.

Oishi, M., Y. Hasegawa, T. Maruyama, S. Nakashita, and T. Kawakami. 1990.
An occurrence of postcranial skeleton of Desmostylus from Kintaichi, Ninohe City,
Iwate Prefecture, northeast Japan. Bull. Iwate Prefectural Mus. No. 8: 1-16. [In
Japanese; Engl. summ.]

Ortiz, M., R. Lalana R., and 0. Torres Fundora. 1992. Un nuevo ge'nero y una nueva
especie de cope'podo Harpacticoida asociada al manati' Trichechus manatus en aguas
cubanas. Revista Investigaciones Marinas 13(2): 117-127. [Engl. summ.
Harpactichechus manatorum, n.gen.n.sp.]

Pilleri, G. 1990. Endocranial cast of Metaxytherium (Mammalia: Sirenia) from the
Miocene of Cerro Gordo, Almeria, Spain. Treballs Mus. Geol. Barcelona 1: 35-42.
[Spanish summ.]

Pinto de Lima, R., D. Paludo, R.J. Soavinski, K. Grubel da Silva, and E.M.A. de
Oliveira. 1992. Levantamento da distribuic,a-o, ocorre^ncia e status de conservac,a-o do
peixe-boi marinho (Trichechus manatus, Linnaeus, 1758) no litoral nordeste do Brasil.
Peixe-Boi 1(1): 47-72.

Pinto de Lima, R., D. Paludo, R.J. Soavinski, E.M.A. de Oliveira, and K. Grubel da
Silva. 1992. Esforc,os conservacionistas e campanhas de conscientizac,a~o para a
preservac,a~o do peixe-boi marinho (Trichechus manatus) ao long do litoral nordeste
do Brasil. Peixe-Boi 1(1): 42-46.

Savinetsky, A.B. 1993. Ancient population dynamics of the sea cow (Hydrodamalis
gigas Zimm., 1780) in the late Holocene. Doklady Biol. Scis. 326(1-6): 403-405.
[Translated from Russian; originally published in Dokl. Akad. Nauk 326(3): 570-572,

Ward, L.I., and B.L. Weigle. 1993. To save a species: GIS for manatee research

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and management. GIS World 6(8): 34-37.

Wolsan, M. 1991. The origin and evolution of Polish marine mammals. Przeglad
Zoologiczny 35(3-4): 261-268. [In Polish; Engl. summ.]

Za'rate Becerra, E. 1993. Distribucio'n del manati' (Trichechus ianatuis) en la
porcion sur de Quintana Roo, Me'xico. Rev. Invest. Cient. (Univ. Auto'n. de Baja
California Sur), Se'r. Ciencias del Mar 1 (Nu'mero Especial SOMEMMA 1): 1-11.

Zeiller, W. 1992. Introducing the manatee. Gainesville, Univ. Press of Florida: 1-161.
[ISBN 0-8130-1152-3. US$19.95.]


Asociacion Juvenil de Voluntarios en Investigacion y Desarrollo Ambientalista (VIDA), Apdo.
7-350-1000, San Jose, COSTA RICA (fax: 506-21-1411)

Dr. Muhammad Husni Azkab, Research & Development Centre for Oceanology,
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), P.O. Box 4801/JKTF, Jakarta 11048,

Dr. Robert L. Brownell, Jr., Southwest Fisheries Science Center, P.O. Box 271, La Jolla,
Calif. 92038-0271 USA

Caribbean Stranding Network, c/o Isla Magueyes Marine Laboratories, University of Puerto
Rico, P.O. Box 908, Lajas, PR 00667-0908 (fax: 809-899-5500)

Dr. Janet Lanyon, Zoology Dept., University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland 4072,


Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year

The Sirenews fax number is 202-265-7055 (USA).

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