Title: Sirenews
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099157/00028
 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 1997
Frequency: two no. a year[apr. 1984-]
semiannual
regular
 Subjects
Subject: Sirenia -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Marine mammals -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
 Notes
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: VID00028
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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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: 1-202-265-7055). It is supported by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission
and Sea World, Inc.


NUMBER 28 OCTOBER 1997


IN THIS ISSUE: SIRENIANS PROLIFERATING IN CYBERSPACE (p. 4)

MANATEE TWINS CONCEIVED IN CAPTIVITY IN
BRAZIL (p. 8)

LEGAL FIREWORKS OVER CASINO CRUISES AT CRYSTAL
RIVER (p. 8)


MANATEES AND THE FUTURE OF ELECTRIC UTILITIES DEREGULATION
IN FLORIDA

This article deals with some very serious potential problems that Florida manatees may
face as a result of the deregulation of the electric utility industry. Due to the complexity of the
deregulation issue and the space available in this newsletter, I will confine most of my
thoughts to its potential effects on manatees and Florida's environment rather than discussing
the details of deregulation's pros and cons for the utility customer.
Background and History. Industrial warm-water outfalls, such as power plant effluents,
have played a pivotal role in allowing the manatee population in Florida to experience partial
recovery. Their combined contribution may be second only to the cessation of hunting
through the implementation of important laws to protect manatees. The relative distribution of
these warm-water sources throughout Florida's coastal habitat has allowed manatees to extend
their winter range and cushioned what would have been much greater losses during times of
extreme cold. After several substantial and near-catastrophic losses of manatees due to cold
weather at some of these facilities, and through years of close cooperation among the utility
companies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), it deceptively
appeared we were close to ensuring that we could provide manatees with secure warm-water





sources for many years to come.
For example, during the early 1980's the Florida Power and Light Company (FPL)
rerouted some of the discharge from newer units to allow the existing warm-water discharge to
remain in a safer and more reliable place for manatees. A further example involved the re-
powering of the old FPL Fort Lauderdale Inland Power Plant. This was an existing site on
which manatees had already become dependent. Through re-powering at an existing site a
win/win/win scenario was created whereby FPL saved money, the adverse environmental
impacts were minimized, and the site's reliability for manatees was improved through several
physical modifications to the discharge area. This solution seemed to be an answer to
providing new electric generation capacity when the various power plants in Florida outlived
their planned operational cycles. This was especially important since virtually everyone
involved with power plant siting agreed that we should not create new thermal discharges.
Only a few years later, however, a different and even more challenging problem arose,
which in hindsight may have been a harbinger of more desperate times for manatees in
Florida's future. It involved the FPL Ft. Myers (Tice) power plant. A contingent of
researchers was converging on the power plant discharge to set up a large-scale capture
operation to catch and fit manatees with electronic tags/transmitters. Just as we had hoped,
there was a really major cold front barreling down on us that should have ensured that we
would have a lot of manatees to choose from. Something, however, was very wrong. Upon
our arrival we discovered that there was no warm water being discharged. Apparently the
executives at FPL had decided (without consultation with their own environmental staff) that
since they could buy power cheaper from Georgia, they would not run the Tice power plant.
Needless to say we did what was necessary to avert what would have been a major catastrophe
by getting Governor Graham to intervene with the President of FPL, who agreed to run the
plant temporarily even though it would be more expensive to operate the plant than to purchase
more power. Ultimately, FPL agreed to install warm-water wells at the Tice discharge that
would be turned on in future winters when the discharge temperature dropped below 20
degrees Celsius.
Perhaps the single most important element in our quest to protect manatees from
catastrophic losses at warm-water sites (on which they now had become thoroughly dependent
during the winter) was requiring, as a condition for the National Pollution Discharge Permits
(NPDES), the adoption of Manatee Protection Plans which maximized the reliability of the
heated discharge from each utility that was already attracting manatees. At the same time,
efforts have also continued to eliminate some thermal discharges that were not reliable and
were putting manatees at greater risk of exposure during major cold fronts or simply during
non-operation of the facility.
Deregulation Concerns. Having laid the above foundation I will finally get to the point
of this article which is that Florida will soon be facing deregulation of the retail electric
power utility industry. Although this is probably still several years away, deregulation's
potential adverse consequences for manatees and Florida's environment are monumental.





Federal laws have already been passed which facilitate wholesale power deregulation, and
several other states, such as California, Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and others,
have already embarked upon retail wheeling. The essential premise is that through
deregulation, competition will lower utility rates. The most analogous situation is what
happened in the telephone industry. Unfortunately, this is expected to be much more
complicated and have a more uncertain outcome.
For starters, even if electric rates eventually decline for most customers (which is in
serious doubt), the reliability of service to customers is going to be threatened, especially when
you take into account the uncertainties of who will be responsible for maintaining the
transmission networks and at what cost. The real push behind the deregulation effort is
coming from the larger power customers such as factories and businesses. At a minimum,
deregulation and therefore competition will mean that the power companies will seek to
operate only those facilities producing the cheapest power, which will lead to unpredictable
and unreliable warm-water discharges. Although a particular plant may be needed one week, it
may be cheaper to buy electricity from another state the next week. Since coal and
orimulsion are some of the cheapest fuels for producing power, and since protecting the
environment costs money and higher costs would mean less revenue, the environmental
safeguards may be the first things to go. It is imperative that the utilities which have benefited
financially all these years from discharging heated waters, upon which manatees have now
become dependent, be held to providing safe alternatives for manatees should they choose to
abandon or diminish the reliability of these warm-water sites for purely economical reasons.
If we are going to find reasonable solutions to promoting competition and protecting
the environment, we will have to start working as soon as possible with the existing utilities to
ensure that environmental costs and manatee protection costs are factored into any "stranded
cost projections". Stranded costs are essentially the difference between the actual cost of a
long-term asset, such as a power plant, and the current market value of that asset. Just as we
expect that the existing utilities will seek to recover these uneconomic costs from customers
during a transition from a regulated to a competitive process, we must also work to ensure
that the environmental safeguards and obligations for manatee protection are also factored into
those calculations.
Thanks to use of the existing "once through" cooling systems (which produce the
warm-water discharges), the historical savings to the utilities have been enormous. Yet
because the potential for future adverse impacts to manatees from unreliable effluents is so
great, it will be necessary to consider a variety of alternatives for the future. With hundreds of
manatees now dependent upon the several existing warm-water outfalls, we must have
sufficient contingency plans for the future. One such alternative may involve setting up a
network of smaller but more numerous warm-water areas for manatees within a larger network
of refuges and preserves located up and down the coasts and within important rivers.
Geothermal sources could be considered, along with deeper water sinks and/or thermal-assisted
applications such as solar power during periods of most severe cold. In the meantime it will be





important to ensure that the utilities meet their respective obligations to protect the manatees that
they, for economic reasons, conditioned to become dependent upon these warmer waters.
The Uncertain Future Can Still Be Shaped. With all of the uncertainties regarding the
future of deregulation and its potential effects on Florida's environment and manatees in
particular, it will be very important to gather the information necessary for appropriate action.
Especially in Florida (where the existing utility companies are still reluctant to embrace open
competition), there is still time to learn from other states and adequately plan for an orderly
transition. The FWS and DEP must, however, immediately step up their efforts to ensure the
future integrity of the existing important warm-water refugia until appropriate long-term
alternatives can be found, if and when they are needed. More specifically, future approvals
for deregulation in Florida should be conditioned upon the FWS and EPA preparing a
complete Environmental Impact Statement which can be used to assess and facilitate needed
environmental safeguards. Above all, it is essential that, once identified, the needed manatee
protection and other environmental safeguards are incorporated into any future plans for
deregulation in Florida. Please let the leaders at FWS, EPA, and DEP know that you won't
stand for manatees being left out in the cold while utility providers fight over the future of
retail electricity distribution in Florida. Patrick M. Rose (Save the Manatee Club)


NEW MANATEE NEWSLETTER

Volume 1, Issue 1 of Manatee News Quarterly (for January-March 1997) appeared in
June 1997 with 12 pages of detailed news coverage concerning the State of Florida's research
and conservation efforts on behalf of Florida manatees. Issue 2 (for April-June 1997), also
with 12 pages, appeared in September. Published in Tallahassee by the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection (FDEP), this new periodical is the direct continuation of the former
"MTAC Update" series previously produced by the Department as internal documents mainly
for the use of members of its Manatee Technical Advisory Council.
For those wishing to follow the numerous and fast-changing developments relating to
Florida manatees in much greater detail than Sirenews provides, this official FDEP newsletter is
an ideal complement to the more popularly-oriented and independent voice of the Save the
Manatee Club Newsletter. The coverage of State agencies' manatee activities in Manatee News
Quarterly and its predecessor series has been sufficiently exhaustive that it may justly be
viewed as the definitive "newsletter of record" on this topic.
To receive copies of Manatee News Quarterly, and/or notices of MTAC meetings
(which are held in various locations in Florida and are open to the public), send your request in
writing to the FDEP Bureau of Protected Species Management, Mail Station 245, 3900
Commonwealth Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000; fax: (850) 922-4338.





READ SIRENEWS ON THE INTERNET


Dan Odell is continuing to post the text of Sirenews on the Society for Marine
Mammalogy's web site, . These posted versions of the
newsletter do not include the illustrative material or most abstracts that appear in the hard-copy
editions, since these items are printed from camera-ready copy rather than digitized. If you
nonetheless find that the Internet versions are adequate for your needs and you no longer wish to
receive the hard copies, please notify me so that I can delete you from the mailing list and save
on printing and postage. DPD


NEW DUGONG WEBSITE

I am maintaining a private, rather extensive website (English and German) about the
dugong under the address with
over 1,500 worldwide visitors in this year. The aims are to: 1) supply a list of (as far as possible)
all dugong links in the Web; 2) include an interactive image map of the Indian Ocean with
hypertext links to information about the dugong populations in the various areas; 3) collect
reports about dugong sightings, which are then included in the page information.
I need more contributions. I invite you to have a look at my pages, and I would be
pleased to receive comments. Hans Rothauscher (SUderende 23, 21782 Bulkau, Germany;
tel.: (049)-04754/511; fax: (049)-02561/91316 35754 (until end of 1997); e-mail:



PICK A MANATEE'S BRAIN ON THE INTERNET

Wally Welker and his colleagues Roger Reep and John Johnson have for years been
sectioning, staining, and studying the brains of manatees and other animals, and are now
making some of the resulting images available on-line. If you have an interest in comparative
neuroanatomy, or would just like to see what a manatee's brain looks like, inside and out, then
visit their new website at . A related site
devoted to their large collection of other mammalian brains is www.neurophys.wisc.edu/Brain/>.


YET MORE MANATEE STUFF ON THE INTERNET

The website of the Florida Marine Research Institute, Florida Department of
Environmental Protection, now carries monthly summary tables and graphs of data on Florida





manatee mortality (through June 1997, as of 24 Oct. 1997). Access it at: edu>.
The "Regional Management Plan for the West Indian Manatee, Trichechus
manatus" (Caribbean Environment Programme Technical Report No. 35, 1995), advertised in
our last issue as available from the CEP office in Kingston, Jamaica, is also available at the
CEP website: .
Other Internet addresses relating to manatees are the following (quoted here from
Manatee News Quarterly):

Caribbean Stranding Network:

Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Protected Species
Management:

Save the Manatee Club:

Sea World of Florida: seaworld/teachersguides.html>

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: nwrsfiles/Wildlifemgmt/SpeciesAccounts/Mammals/Flmanatee/
FlmanateeTableofContents.html>


SEA PIGS LEADING SEA COWS IN INDOPACIFIC POLL

In Sirenews No. 27 1 requested readers to forward vernacular names used by local people
for the dugong. I referred to the discussion raised during 1991 by Prof Paul Anderson on
sirenian vernacular names. In response to my request, I received a large number of vernacular
names from all over the region, and I present the results below.

Summary of vernacular names for the dugong

REGION CONTACT PERSON LANGUAGE NAME MEANING

Sri Lanka Anderson Tamil kadalpani sea pig
Sinhalese cudalpani sea pig

Indonesia Persoon Siberut sakoko ka sea pig
Siberut koat






Andaman/ Das Andaman pani suar sea pig
Nicobar Is. suar machhi pigfish

India/ Das Tamil kadalpasu sea cow
Tamilnadu

Mozambique De Boer ? n'pfuwomati sea hippo

Thailand Pitaksinthorn Thai mu-nam water pig
mu-dut digging pig

Indonesia Ismu Sutanto Malay babi laout sea pig
putri duyung mermaid

Although this list is certainly not extensive, it shows that the vernacular name of sea pig,
water pig, or digging pig is common in the Asian region, with the exception of Tamilnadu,
where the word kadal pasu (sea cow) is used. Dr. Das reported that here also, people eat
dugong meat, irrespective of religion, maybe because of the low economic condition. He also
informed me that even if the majority of the coastal population are Hindus, for whom the cow is
a sacred animal, they do not mind eating or selling the meat of the sea cow. Also, local
people from the Andamans apparently had no religious taboos preventing them from eating
dugong meat.
From information I received from Mr. Pitaksinthorn in Thailand and from Mr. De Boer in
Mozambique, also no religious taboos were evident. It is interesting to note that local Thai
fishermen in east Thailand call the dugong digging pig, while in the south it is called water
pig. In Africa the association with the hippo is evident. Also in South Africa, in Afrikaans the
dugong is called Nijlpaard, a Dutch word for hippo. It seems that in Africa the dugong is not
directly associated with a pig, but rather with a hippo.
From my own experience I learned that the dominant local name of sea pig does not
prevent Muslim people in Indonesia from eating dugong meat. In the Moluccas I learned that
Chinese often buy (accidentally-) captured dugongs, to release them. I was told that this is a
Buddhist custom, which is certainly not related to the vernacular name, but is related to the
reincarnation of ancestral spirits. Surprisingly, coastal villagers in Sumatra made mention of
the "strand pig," which turned out to be groups of bearded pigs, Sus barbatus oi, foraging on
tidal flats. Prof Anderson informed me that he is in full agreement with pursuing the "sea
pig" issue, although he does not feel at ease with "sea sows" or "sea piglets."
From his research, however, he confirms the bottom-rooting, semi-omnivorous niche of the
dugong. Dugongs in his North Cove study area at Shark Bay fed in a "flukes up" posture with
the body vertical and the flukes extending above the surface. He reported fresh craters in a





dense meadow of Halodule uninervis. I have found craters of similar size in Halodule
meadows of the Lease Islands, but did not catch the dugongs "red-handed."
In Sirenews No. 27, I mentioned as the main argument for a possible change in vernacular
name the positive spinofffor conservation in regions where "pig meat" is a religious taboo. As
from the anecdotal information I have gathered, there seems to be no direct relationship
between the vernacular name and religious taboos for eating dugong meat, I conclude that
there is no strong argument yet for a change in vernacular name. Of course I remain interested
in further updates of vernacular names and religious taboos with reference to the eating of
dugong meat. I will keep you informed on new developments! Hans de Iongh (Roghorst
343, 6708 UX Wageningen, The Netherlands; e-mail: Iongh@RULCML.LEIDENUNIV.NL)

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The South African confusion between the hippopotamus and the
dugong is a long-standing one. Afrikaans also uses the name seekoei for the hippo, and
Beeckman in 1812 gave a description of "an amphibious creature, called by them manitee,
or a sea-cow," encountered at the Cape of Good Hope, which was obviously a
hippopotamus. This usage probably explains why P. L. S. Miiller attributed to the dugong
a range including the Cape of Good Hope when he named the species in 1776. Perhaps
one of our South African correspondents with an antiquarian bent can disentangle the
history of these names in their region.
Tony Preen, in his 1989 monograph on dugongs in Arabian waters (MEPA Coastal
& Marine Management Series Report No. 10, vol. 1, pp. 52, 99, 115), reports that Sunni
Muslims in Arabia are allowed to eat dugong meat, but that it is apparently prohibited for Shia
Muslims. However, these customs seem to vary locally among different communities of
fishermen, and may not be recognized or observed uniformly by all Sunnis or Shiites. We
would welcome comments on this subject from our Muslim correspondents in various parts of
the world.]


REQUEST FOR RESEARCH PROPOSALS

The Center for Field Research invites proposals for 1998-99 field grants funded by its
affiliate Earthwatch. Earthwatch is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to
sponsoring field research and promoting public education in the sciences and humanities.
Past projects have been fielded in, but are not limited to, the following disciplines:
animal behavior, biodiversity, ecology, ornithology, endangered species, entomology,
marine mammalogy, ichthyology, herpetology, marine ecology, and resource and
wildlife management. Interdisciplinary projects and multinational collaboration are
especially encouraged. Information can be found at ,
or you can contact The Center for Field Research, 680 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown, MA
02272 USA; tel.: (617) 926-8200, fax: (617) 926-8532, e-mail:







LATIN AMERICAN MARINE MAMMAL CONGRESS


The 8th Working Meeting of Specialists in Aquatic Mammals and the 2nd Congress of
the Latin American Society of Specialists in Aquatic Mammals (SOLAMAC) will be held in
Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil, 25-29 October 1998. For information and registration, contact:
Secretaria da Comissa-o Organizadora da 8a RT, C.P. no. 01, Ilha de Itamaracd PE,
CEP 53900-000, Brazil (tel. ++55 (081) 544-1056/544-1731; fax: ++55 (081) 544-1835; e-mail:
rplima@elogica. com. br


LOCAL NEWS

AUSTRALIA

Declaration of "Dugong Protection
Areas" in the Southern Great Barrier Reef and
Hervey Bay. Readers of Sirenews will be
aware of the plans to declare "Dugong
Protection Areas in the Southern Great
Barrier Reef' in response to the serious
decline in dugong numbers along a 2000-km
stretch of the east coast of Queensland.
In August 1997, the Great Barrier
Reef Ministerial Council (which is composed
of the national and Queensland [state]
Ministers of the Environment, Primary
Industries and Tourism) finalized the
establishment of a chain of dugong
sanctuaries in the region of concern.
The Ministerial Council established a
two-tiered system of Dugong Protection
Areas (DPA's). In the Great Barrier Reef
Region gill-netting is banned in six
DPA(Zone A) 's with a total area of 2395
km2. These DPA 's support an estimated 55%
of the dugongs in the Southern Great Barrier
Reef region. A further 13% of the dugongs
in the region occur in eight DPA(Zone B) 's





with a total area of 2235 km2. Gill-netting
practices have been modified in the DPA B's
with a view to reducing dugong mortality.
Gill-netting practices have also been
modified throughout Hervey Bay, an
important dugong habitat south of the Great
Barrier Reef
The Ministerial Council also agreed
that appropriate compensation will be paid to
fishers affected by the establishment of Zone
A DPA 's.
These initiatives have not received
wide support. Conservationists regard the
closures as inadequate. They believe that the
DPA B's should also be closed to gill-netting
and that gill-netting should also be banned
in the tidal reaches of the creeks which
flow into the DPA's. The fishers are also
upset by the impact of the closure.
I would have liked the measures to be
more extensive and to include additional
measures such as a seasonal closure in
August-October (when most dugong
carcasses are recovered). However, I
regard these initiatives as a significant
first step. Helene Marsh

BELIZE

More Manatee Poaching. Evidence
of clandestine manatee butchering in Belize
has repeatedly surfaced in recent years, as
reported in Sirenews Nos. 24 and 27. The
latest report comes from Oscar Slatzar, an
Environmental Field Educator at The Belize
Zoo. On 17 April 1997, together with Peace
Corps volunteer Larry Saulnier, he
discovered yet another heap of manatee
bones, this one near the village ofPunta
Negra in southern Belize.





Mr. Salazar plans to incorporate the
story of this sad discovery into his regular
slide-show presentations on manatee
conservation, which are given to
schoolchildren and teachers in the nearby
communities. Though such local
educational efforts are desirable and
necessary, however, the more urgent need
would seem to be for increased law
enforcement especially in view of evidence
(previously reported here) that the poachers
are coming from outside Belize, possibly
from Guatemala. We impatiently await some
news of arrests and stiff penalties in these
cases. DPD

BRAZIL

Captive Manatee Births. Newton
Banks reports the following breeding
successes with T. manatus held at the
Manatee Conservation and Handling Center,
Itamaracd, Pernambuco:
On 19 December 1996, a 36-year-old
female gave birth to her first-born, a male
1.13 m in length and 33 kg in weight. This is
said to be the first manatee known to have
been conceived in captivity in South
America.
On 10 April 1997, another female
gave birth to twin female calves, 91 and 101
cm long and 16 and 18 kg in weight,
respectively. This is the first case of manatee
twins conceived in captivity.

COSTA RICA

New Manatee Conservation Project.
- For over a year, Ignacio JimenezPerez
has been carrying on manatee research in





Costa Rica. The following abstract is
adapted from a progress report he prepared in
June 1997.
"Papers written up to 1995 on
manatees in Costa Rica, based on short-
term surveys in the country, report a very
small and endangered population. Small-
scale distribution, conservation status, and
threats are poorly known. In June 19961
started field research for a MSc thesis on
manatee conservation in northeastern Costa
Rica. The objectives are to assess: 1) manatee
distribution, 2) presence of suitable habitat,
and 3) principal threats. I also designed
management and educational activities as
part of an overall manatee conservation
project for Costa Rica.
"Activities carried out up to now
include: 1) assessment of manatee
distribution and relative abundance for the
region between Aguas Muertas on the
San Juan River and Pacuare Lagoon; 2)
measurement of habitat variables that could
be related to manatee abundance; and 3)
identification and evaluation ofprincipal
threats. I found that: 1) manatees are
relatively common animals in northeastern
Costa Rica, with almost continuous
distribution through lowland freshwater
watercourses; 2) there is abundant suitable
habitat, due to existence of protected areas
and high adaptability of this species; 3)
existing threats are: a) some hunting
which is decreasing; b) boat traffic that
doesn't seem to be affecting the population
significantly; c) increasing use of gillnets
in freshwater lagoons and river mouths;
and d) hypothetical impact of pesticides.
"Pending research activities are
surveys in the southern area and data





analysis and thesis preparation. Pending
management activities are GIS database
development and writing of a Manatee
National Conservation Plan for Costa Rica. I
will also be developing educational
presentations, workshops, booklets, and
posters, and an educational theater play for
children in local villages.
"This project is funded by: the
Spanish International Cooperation Agency,
Chiquita Brands, the European Union, the
Ministry of Environment and Energy, the
Fundacion Salvemos al Manati de Costa
Rica, the Regional Wildlife Management
Program of the National University of
Costa Rica, and the NGO Idea Wild -
Ignacio Jiminez Perez (Programa Regional
en Manejo de Vida Silvestre para
Mesoamericay el Caribe (PRMVS),
Universidad Nacional, Apdo. 1350-3000,
Heredia, Costa Rica; e-mail:


FLORIDA

Riverboat Gamblers Roil Crystal
River. A major legal battle has been
sparked by attempts to operate a 98-foot,
150-passenger gambling cruise ship out of a
marina on the Crystal River, the most
important natural warm-water refuge for
manatees on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
A company called River Marina
Enterprises, Inc., sought permission in July
1997 to modify an existing marina on the
north shore of the Crystal River, just
opposite the mouth of its distributary the
Salt River, so that it could better
accommodate the casino ship SunCruz IV
and its two daily trips out into the Gulf of





Mexico's international waters, where
gambling is legal. (The docking facility is
leased to another company, Paradise of Port
Richey, which operates the ship.)
However, permitting authorities raised
objections not only to the dredging that
would be required inside the confines of the
marina, but especially to the operation,
during all tidal conditions, of such a deep-
draft vessel in the shallow river channel
itself which at low tide is only 4% feet deep
in places (about the same as the ship's draft).
It was feared that seagrasses would be
damaged, manatees and boats traveling to
and from the river's headwaters would be
forced out of the channel into shallower areas
where they might collide, and some manatees
might be crushed under the hull of the
gambling ship itself
Meanwhile, the cruise company began
operating the ship on 19 September under a
Temporary Use Agreement which prohibited
it from causing turbidity that would degrade
the river. Turbidity was created, however,
and cease-and-desist orders were issued by
the U.S. Army's Corps of Engineers and by
the State of Florida's Departments of
Environmental Protection and Community
Affairs on 23 and 25 September. The
company ignored these orders, and even
after one of the ship's captains was cited for
felony violation of pollution laws and a
second captain was jailed (on 12 October),
the twice-daily gambling trips sporadically
continued.
The gambling ship has already run
aground at least once at the mouth of the
river. Inspectors traveling in the vessel's
wake have reportedly witnessed chunks of
bottom sediment containing seagrasses being





churned up, and increases in turbidity from
dredging of sediment by the ship's propeller
have been measured at 40 times the legal
limit. So far no manatee injuries have been
reported, but the weather is still warm and
the season of the manatees' heavy winter use
of the river has not yet begun.
The casino company protests that the
water-quality tests are flawed, and that the
law is being selectively enforced because
none of the smaller boats using the river have
been similarly cited. On 17 October,
however, a federal judge found these
arguments unconvincing and denied the
company's request for an injunction against
the State's law-enforcement efforts. The
judge set a 2 February trial date for the
case, and as of 21 October the gambling
cruises had once again ceased.
Suits and countersuits have been filed
by the various parties to the dispute, and with
four government orders and two court cases
instituted so far, prolonged, complex, and
lively negotiations are anticipated. The
casino's attorney has already complained
that the Circuit Court judge hearing one of
the cases is biased against him. Watch
this space. [Based in part on reports in
the St. Petersburg Times.]

FRANCE

New Museum to Feature Fossil
Sirenians From Spectacular Eocene Site. -
For several years I have been working with
personnel of the Reserve Giologique de
Haute Provence at a fossil locality in
southeastern France known as Taulanne.
This site, perched in a picturesque mountain
valley in the Maritime Alps just inland





from the French Riviera, preserves the most
abundant remains of Late Eocene sirenians
of any place known, and in terms of the
number of sirenian bones per cubic meter
of sediment it is probably the richest fossil
sirenian locality in the world. Indeed,
sirenians are almost the only fossil
vertebrates found in these rocks.
The Taulanne site was worked by
Dutch paleontologists in the 1960s, and
subsequently suffered somewhat at the hands
of amateur collectors. It has now been
incorporated into an official Geological
Reserve, giving it additional legal
protection. The recent excavations, besides
collecting specimens for scientific study, are
aimed at developing a permanent outdoor
exhibit showing many of the bones
preserved in situ. This will consist of a
huge section (some tens of meters long and
several meters wide) of a single exposed
layer of rock, protected under a thick glass or
plastic cover. On this surface, scores of
sirenian bones have been chiseled out of the
hard limestone, forming a snapshot of the
ancient seafloor at one moment in time.
Other noteworthy fossil sites in France's
system of Geological Reserves have been
preserved in a similar fashion.
To provide interpretive context for
this outdoor exhibit, a museum is being
created several miles away in the nearest
town, Castellane, which is a popular tourist
destination. Located next door to the city
hall, this museum will occupy the upper
floors of a refurbished building that once
served as the jail and still houses the city post
office. In addition to offices and space for
temporary exhibits, the new museum will
include a permanent exhibit in a single large





room (taking up the entire top floor). Half of
this permanent exhibit will be devoted to the
history of mermaids and mermaid legends
(must bring in the tourists, you know). The
other half will explain the geology and
paleontology of the Taulanne site and the
biology and evolution of sirenians. Few of
the actual Taulanne fossils will be displayed,
however, because the intent is to pique the
visitors' curiosity and induce them to make
the journey to the site itself, which is
accessible only by hiking trails.
Appropriately, the museum's exterior has
been decorated with a handsome
impressionistic frieze of mermaids alternating
with swimming dugongs.
The official public openings of the
museum and outdoor exhibit are scheduled
for sometime in the summer of 1998.
Meanwhile, the scientific study of the
Taulanne site has so far generated at least
two thesis projects for French graduate
students; the sirenians themselves are being
studied by Claire Sagne, a student of Prof.
Pascal Tassy at the Museum National
d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris. DPD


NICARAGUA

Manatee Survey Planned. In addition
to my work in Costa Rica (see above), I am
planning an expedition to southeastern
Nicaragua (Indio and Maiz rivers and several
large coastal lagoons) to assess local
manatee conservation status. I have reports
that the species is quite abundant there, in
a huge protected area (Reserva Biol6gica
Indio-Maiz) almost uninhabited by humans.
So far as I know, no research has been done





in that area. A Brazilian student from the
master's program where I am doing my
thesis, who also did some research on T.
manatus in Brazil, will be the other half of
the expedition team. We are still seeking
US$500 to pay for field expenses. Ignacio
Jiminez Perez

ABSTRACTS

Recognition of phylogeographic units for the conservation management of the
dugong (Dugong dugon) (Dani Tikel). Distributed throughout the coastal tropical and
subtropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific, the dugong is rare over much of its range and
listed by the IUCN (1996) as "vulnerable to extinction ". The largest numbers of dugongs
are believed to occur in Australian waters. The main threats to dugong numbers are
anthropogenic activity, such as accidental netting, habitat deterioration and Indigenous
hunting. The primary objective of this study is the recognition ofphylogeographic units for
the dugong (Dugong dugon). Complementing ecological studies, these findings have
immediate and practical relevance to the conservation management of the dugong.
Samples from approximately 230 dugongs were collected by carcass salvage, from
dugongs hunted by Indigenous peoples, and by remote sampling of free-ranging dugongs.
Advances upon established sampling approaches for marine mammals include a biopsy system
tailored to dugongs and the extraction, amplification and sequencing of dugong DNA from
their feces.
From dugong samples collected from Australia (n=92), West Indian Ocean (n=4), and
Asia (n=7), three genetic markers were investigated: the cytochrome b gene and control
region of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and microsatellites. Cytochrome b proved to contain
insufficient variation for an interpopulation comparison, whereas a block of DNA sequence
(194 bases) positioned 5'in the control region of mtDNA was identified as suitable for
interpopulation comparison because of its high variation. A substantial foundation for the
development of microsatellite markers for future research has been established by this study.
In addition to recognizing a six-base repeat located 3' in the control region of mtDNA, five
GT-AC compound microsatellites were located from a dugong genome library.

The hypervariable region 1 of mtDNA was sequenced for a total of 103 dugongs, as
well as in an outgroup, the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Among
the dugong sequences, 39 variable sites and 37 haplotypes (specific DNA sequences) were
found. Phylogenetic trees constructed from the mtDNA haplotypes showed three clusters:
West Australian, East Australian and Asian. These haplotype clusters suggest a closer
relationship between the Asian and East Australian dugongs, in comparison to the West





Australian dugongs. Surprisingly, haplotypes of West Indian Ocean dugongs are extremely
similar to haplotypes from East Australian dugongs despite their large geographical
separation. This suggests that the West Indian Ocean and East Australian dugongs shared a
more recent ancestor compared to the Asian or West Australian dugongs. The
geographical range of the Asian mtDNA haplotypes does not overlap with the Australian
haplotypes. The two Australian mtDNA haplotype clusters overlap geographically in the
Great Barrier Reef region.
Considering geography and the three mtDNA haplotype clusters, five intraspecific units
for the dugong are recognized: 1) North & West Australian (coastal locations from latitude
22.20S to 9.17S, longitude 114.09E to 143.07E), 2) Great Barrier Reef (12.58S to
23.22S, 143.31E to 150.32E), 3) South East Queensland (27.22S to 24.57S, 152.40E to
153.20E), 4) Asian (10.47Nto 3.41S, 98.35E to 128.10E), and 5) West Indian Ocean
(26.00N to 1.00N, 38. 00E to 52.00E).
The intraspecific genetic partitioning of dugong populations from Australia, Asia, and
the West Indian Ocean can be partly explained in terms of historical geography. Dugongs have
probably existed on the northern Australian coast since the Pleistocene (two million years
ago). The distinction of the two Australian mtDNA haplotype clusters may be attributed
to the Torres Strait (land bridge) acting as a periodic barrier to dugong movements during
the Pleistocene low sea level phases. It is of particular interest for management that West
Australian haplotypes have such a limited spread to the south and east Australian dugong
range. Similarly, East Australian haplotypes do not extend north and west along the
Australian coast beyond Torres Strait. Considering the dugong's potential for dispersal, the
spread of the two Australian haplotype clusters is remarkably limited. The pattern of overlap
between the two major Australian clusters of haplotypes in the Great Barrier Reef region
indicates low rates of female-mediated gene flow.
Dugongs have a high genetic diversity and rate of evolution comparable to most land
mammals. The apparent low level of migration between populations suggests that successful
recolonization of an area by dugongs will be extremely slow. With respect to management, the
Australian dugong units should be treated as distinct Management Units with some degree of
overlap. To maintain this genetic diversity, fragmentation of the dugong's Australian range is
discouraged. A chain of dugong sanctuaries connected by protected corridors is recommended.
[Abstract of a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, submitted to James Cook
University of North Queensland, Australia, in 1997 and supervised by Helene Marsh.]

The following abstract is of a paper presented at the symposium on "Tropical Diversity:
Origins, Maintenance and Conservation" at the annual meeting of the Association for
Tropical Biology and Organization for Tropical Studies, San Jose, Costa Rica, June 15-20,
1997:








The following abstract is of a poster presented at the annual meeting of the American
Society of Mammalogists, Stillwater, Oklahoma, June 16, 1997:



RECENT LITERA TURE

Anonymous. 1996. Manatees and boats. Mote News (Sarasota, Florida, Mote
Marine Laboratory) 41(3): 5. [On compliance with speed zone regulations by boaters.]

Anonymous. 1996. Effects of red tide on manatee immune function. Mote News
(Sarasota, Florida, Mote Marine Laboratory) 41(3): 11. [Brief popular account of in-
vitro study of manatee lymphocytes.]

Anderson, P.K. 1997. Shark Bay dugongs in summer. I: Lek mating. Behaviour 134
(5-6): 433-462.

Arnold, D. W. 1996. Saving the manatees... the State's approach to manatee recovery.
Mote News (Sarasota, Florida, Mote Marine Laboratory) 41(3): 6-7.

Au, W. W.L. 1997. Some hot topics in animal bioacoustics. Jour. Acoust. Soc. Amer.
101 (5, Part 1): 2433-2441.

Banks, N., and V.A. Lima. 1995. Enciclop6dia dos sirenios: peixes-bois e dugongos.
Recife (Brazil), Univ. Federal Rural de Pernambuco: 1-229. [A compilation of
quotations and data from published literature, arranged by topics including history,
paleontology, distribution, systematics, morphology of organ systems, predators
and parasites, economic aspects, and conservation. In Portuguese.]

Barnett, A.A., and M.L. Prangley. 1997. Mammalogy in the Republic of Guinea: an
overview of research from 1946 to 1996, a preliminary check-list and a summary of
research recommendations for the future. Mammal Rev. 27(3): 115-164.

Cozzuol, M.A. 1996. The record of the aquatic mammals in southern South America.
In: G. Arratia (ed), Contributions of southern South America to vertebrate
paleontology. Miinchner Geowiss. Abh., Reihe A, Geol. u. Pal. 30: 321-342.

Craig, B.A., M.A. Newton, R.A. Garrott, J.E. Reynolds, III, and J.R. Wilcox.





1997. Analysis of aerial survey data on Florida manatee using Markov chain Monte
Carlo. Biometrics 53(2): 524-541.

Domning, D.P. 1997. Fossil Sirenia of the West Atlantic and Caribbean region.
VI. Crenatosiren olseni (Reinhart, 1976). Jour. Vert. Pal. 17(2): 397-412.

Edmonds, J.S., Y. Shibata, R.I. T. Prince, A.R. Preen, and M. Morita. 1997.
Elemental composition of a tusk of a dugong, Dugong dugon, from Exmouth, Western
Australia. Marine Biology 129: 203-214.

Griebel, U., and A. Schmid. 1997. Brightness discrimination ability in the West
Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). Jour. Exper. Biol. 200(11): 1587-1592.

Jackson, J.B.C. 1997. Reefs since Columbus. Coral Reefs 16 (Suppl.): S23-S32.

Jefferson, TA., and G.D. Baumgardner. 1997. Osteological specimens of marine
mammals (Cetacea and Sirenia) from the western Gulf of Mexico. Texas Jour. Sci. 49
(2): 97-108.

Kataoka, T., and S. Asano. 1990. The life of dugong. In: N. Miyazaki and T. Kasuya
(eds.), Biology of marine mammals. Tokyo, Scientist Inc.: 206-217.

Koelsch, JK. 1996. Sarasota's manatees. Mote News (Sarasota, Florida, Mote
Marine Laboratory) 41(3): 8-10.

Marmontel, M., S.R. Humphrey, and T.J. O'Shea. 1997. Population viability analysis
of the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), 1976-1991. Conserv.
Biol. 11(2): 467-481.

Marsh, H., P. W. Arnold, C.J. Limpus, A. Birtles, B. Breen, J. Robins, and R.
Williams. 1997. Endangered and charismatic megafauna. In: The Great Barrier Reef:
science, use and management. A national conference .... 25-29 November 1996,
James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville, Queensland,
Australia. Proceedings, Volume 1, Invited Papers: 124-138.

Marsh, H., P.J. Corkeron, I. Lawler, JM. Lanyon, and A.R. Preen. 1996. The
status of dugongs in the Great Barrier Reef region, south of Cape Bedford. Great
Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Research Publication No. 41: 1-80.

Miller, D.J., and S.K. Donovan. 1996. Geomorphology, stratigraphy and





palaeontology of Wait-A-Bit Cave, central Jamaica. Tertiary Research 17(1-2): 33-49.
[Eocene sirenian ribs]

Ojeda-C., M.M. 1997. Wildlife management in Venezuela: experiences and
future perspectives. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 25(1): 49-56.

Ozawa, T., S. Hayashi, and V.M. Mikhelson. 1997. Phylogenetic position of mammoth
and Steller's sea cow within Tethytheria demonstrated by mitochondrial DNA
sequences. Jour. Molec. Evol. 44(4): 406-413.

Pervesler, P. 1996. Rekonstruktion einer Sirenenfundsituation aus dem
Untermiozain von Niederosterreich. Der Prfiparator 42(3): 75-80.

Russell, B.J. 1996. Hugh and Buffett. Mote News (Sarasota, Florida, Mote
Marine Laboratory) 41(3): 5. [On two captive manatees.]

Springer, M.S., G.C. Cleven, 0. Madsen, W. W. de Jong, V. G. Waddell, H.M. Amrine,
andM.J Stanhope. 1997. Endemic African mammals shake the phylogenetic tree.
Nature 388(6637): 61-64.

Wakai, Y. 1997. Keeping dugongs and conservation activities in Toba Aquarium.
Aquabiology (Tokyo) 19(1)(108): 25-28. [In Japanese.]



CHANGES OF ADDRESS

Dr. Toshio Kasuya, Faculty of Bioresources, Mie University, Kamihamacho, Tsu,
Mie, 514 JAPAN (fax: +81-59-231-9538)

Dr. Christopher D. Marshall, Dept. of Structure and Function, Ross University
School of Veterinary Medicine, P. 0. Box 334, Basseterre, ST. KITTS, West Indies
(fax: 1-869-465-1203; e-mail: ROSSLRC@CARIBSURF. COM Subject: Dr.
Christopher Marshall)

Dr. Virginia Pierce, Tri-State Bird Rescue, 110 Possum Hollow Road, Newark,
Delaware 19711 USA

Dr. Alistair G. Watson, Dept. of Anatomy, Pathology, and Pharmacology,
College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma





74078 USA (fax: 1-405-744-5275; e-mail: awatson@okway.okstate.edu)


>>> COPY DEADLINE FOR NEXT ISSUE: APRIL 1, 1998 <<<

The Sirenewsfax number is 1-202-265-7055 (USA).

Printed on recycled paper with soy ink




OPINION SURVEY

I am continuing to update my Bibliography and Index of the Sirenia and Desmostylia, with a
view to making the digital version available in some form. It is also necessary to plan how best to
maintain and adapt this database for use by the marine mammal research and conservation
community into the indefinite future. Now that the printed version has been available for over a
year, I would like to get feedback from those who have used it, and I hereby solicit your
comments on its format, ease of use, desirable enhancements, etc. Your responses to the
following questions would be much appreciated. If you know others who have used the
bibliography, please give copies of this questionnaire to them also. Return completed
questionnaires to me by mail or fax (1-202-265-7055). Feel free to make further comments on
additional sheets. Thank you! DPD


1. In what ways have you used the bibliography? (Check all that apply.)

___ Retrospective literature searches of particular topics (give examples of topics?)


___ Verification of references you were seeking in libraries or via interlibrary loan
___ Verification or completion of bibliographic citations to be used in your own manuscripts
___ Casual browsing
___ Paperweight or doorstop
__ Verification of nomenclatural information (spelling of scientific names, citations of author
or date, references to original descriptions, synonymies, etc.)
___ Consultation of appendices other than the nomenclatural ones (which?)


Other (please specify):











2. Were you able to locate the information you wanted with little or no difficulty? If not, what
difficulties did you encounter? Did you eventually find the information using some other (what?)
means of information retrieval?


3. What features) of the work did you find most useful? (Check


all that apply.)


___ Bibliography (citations)
___ Bibliography (annotations)
__ Appendices (which?)
___ Index (headings and cross-references)
___ Index (citations)
___ Index (annotations)
Index (page references)
___ Other (please specify):


4. Are there any subject headings or cross-references that should


be added to the Index?


5. In what other ways could the work be improved or made easier


to use?








6. By far the most time-consuming task in maintaining this database is the indexing, i.e., the
creation of the Index entries, annotations, and detailed page references (these are all done
individually by hand and not by computer sorting on keywords). In your opinion, are the Index
annotations and page references useful enough to justify someone's continuing to create them for
works added to the database in the future (or for the backlog of old works not yet fully indexed)?




7. With some clever computer programming, it would probably be possible in principle to
retrospectively convert the existing indexing to a keyword-based system, including writing lists
of keywords to the main bibliographic entries as a supplement to the present main-entry
annotations. (From then on, future citations added to the Index would include only year and
authors) and would lack annotations and page references, like the incomplete citations in the
present Index, but would be generated automatically by computer rather than by hand.) In your
opinion, would this be an acceptable substitute for the present system, or even an improvement?







8. If a digital version of the bibliography were available on the Internet, would you be able to
access it?



9. Given a choice between equally up-to-date printed and digital (on-computer) versions of the
bibliography, which would you prefer to use for most purposes? What use(s) would you have for
a digital version that could not be met, or met as well, by a printed version? What use(s) would
you have for a printed version that could not be met by a digital version?





10. If a copy of a digital version (e.g., high-capacity diskette or CD-ROM) were available for
purchase and use on your own computer instead of on-line, would you be interested in purchasing
one? Would you still want it if it were also available on-line?




Your Name (optional)

Thank you!




EDITORIAL: THE FLORIDA MANATEE DILEMMA

There is some good news regarding Florida manatees: (1) there is evidence that they are
increasing in numbers (at least in the best-protected areas such as around Crystal River and Blue
Spring); (2) they are certainly increasing their range somewhat (now living year-round [?] in
Wakulla County in the Florida Panhandle, for example); (3) the captive population has so
outgrown the capacity of captive facilities that males and females are now separated to prevent
breeding, and placement of unreleaseable animals in display facilities outside Florida is being
considered.
But they are not out of danger yet. Problems:
Increasing eutrophication of Florida's waters due to runoff from development may reduce
[?] manatee carrying capacity. [Effects on aq. weeds?]
Pending deregulation of the power industry will probably lead to increased competition in
the industry and closing of less efficient plants that have provided warm-water refugia for
manatees. [P. ROSE CONTRIB.?]
Rehabilitation of the Everglades by partly restoring its original hydrology will lead to
diminished water releases from Lake Okeechobee via the Chassahowitzka and St. Lucie rivers.
This will likely result in increased saltwater intrusion into the Chassahowitzka a condition
that in the past has contributed [?] to red tide outbreaks that were lethal to manatees.
It goes without saying (most of the time), but needs to be said anyway, that Florida's
growth in human population and development shows no signs of stopping.

... Analogous problems beset the endangered Key deer, which is endemic to the lower
Florida Keys. In late December 1996 the Associated Press reported that, although the wild
population of 250-300 is reproducing well and probably increasing, mortality also set a new
record of 100 in 1996. This was attributed in part to the large number of inexperienced young





animals roaming in search of new habitat and encountering heavy human traffic (about two-
thirds of the dead animals were killed by cars). The numbers of human tourists and residents in
the Keys, of course, are steadily increasing, along with development pressures; so the Key
deer's long-term future cannot be considered bright despite its high reproductive rate at present....




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