NUMBER 37 APRIL 2002
IN THIS ISSUE: REHABILITATED CALVES RELEASED IN AUSTRALIA
AND COLOMBIA (pp. 6, 8)
DUGONG STUDIES IN THE PHILIPPINES AND VIETNAM
(pp. 11, 12)
ABSTRACTS FROM VANCOUVER CONFERENCE (p. 15)
MANATEE POPULATION ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT
WORKSHOP HELD IN FLORIDA
The Manatee Population Ecology and Management Workshop was held in Gainesville, Florida, 1-
4 April 2002. The goal of the workshop was to better understand and integrate the roles of
research and management in achieving recovery of the Florida manatee. The specific workshop
> To review progress in manatee population research, and demonstrate the value of current
> To improve data analyses and population models for future population assessments, e.g.,
the planned status reviews by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) in 2003.
> To promote peer review of current population research by a panel of wildlife population
experts outside of the manatee research community.
> To make recommendations and promote collaborations for future population research.
> To synthesize current results in a technical report that will be made available to the public,
scientific community, managers, and policy-makers.
> To achieve a balanced approach to manatee conservation.
New data analyses were presented at the workshop, and a group of 8 scientists with expertise in
wildlife population assessment (Solange Brault, Daniel Goodman, Aleta Hohn, Fred Johnson, Gil
McRae, Helene Marsh, Jim Nichols, Ken Pollock) reviewed the current techniques used to assess
manatee population status.
Approximately 100 people participated in the 2002 workshop. The last time biologists convened
a formal meeting to review and discuss manatee population biology was in 1992. That meeting
did not include managers, while the attendance at the 2002 workshop was a mixture of research
and management biologists, and representatives from boating and conservation groups. A few
reporters also attended.
The workshop sponsors were: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Marine Mammal Commission, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
Ocean Conservancy, Florida Power & Light Co., Pegasus Foundation, Mote Marine Laboratory,
and Wildlife Trust.
John Reynolds gave the first of 14 presentations, briefly reviewing the history of manatee
population research and its application to manatee recovery efforts. He emphasized that we have
more and better quality data on manatees than on any other marine mammal. He also pointed out
that long-term manatee data sets, some of which date back to the late 1960's, increase in value
over time. The quantitative population criteria that appear in the third revision of the Florida
Manatee Recovery Plan were based on analyses of long-term life history data, published in the
proceedings that resulted from the 1992 Technical Workshop on Manatee Population Biology
(Population Biology of the Florida Manatee. 1995. O'Shea, Ackerman, and Percival, eds.
Copies available from USGS or FWCC).
Five management and 8 research presentations followed. Among other research findings,
biologists reported new information on the age structure of dead manatees, adult survival rates,
reproductive rates, and use of models to determine population growth rates. Although the
workshop did not attempt to incorporate habitat and carrying capacity issues, the need to integrate
population and habitat data was voiced by both researchers and managers. Some of the highlights
were the following.
Meghan Pitchford (FWCC) reported finding that of the female manatee carcasses that have been
aged, 73% did not live long enough to produce more than one calf, and only 20% lived long
enough to produce more than 2 calves. Excluding the 0-1 year age class, the average age of
recovered carcasses is 7.7 yr. Only 1% of the manatees aged (n=2026) were 30 or more years
old. She also found that one can "read between the lines" that form growth-layer-groups in
manatee ear bones, i.e., changes in growth rate (determined from growth-layer measurements)
may indicate the onset of sexual maturity.
'However, the above findings based on carcass data differ from those based on photo-id data.
Resightings of living adult females, particularly at Crystal River in the Northwest region and
Blue Spring in the Upper St. Johns region, indicate that many individuals live well beyond 20
years, and several of those who were first documented over 30 years ago continue to be
resighted. Most of these females also produce calves every 2-3 years. Several reviewers
recommended comparison and integration of the carcass recovery and photo-id data in order to
better our understanding of the manatee population's age structure.
Bill Kendall and Cathy Langtimm (USGS) presented new estimates of manatee reproduction and
survival based on resightings of live manatees, which were incorporated into a stage-based model
presented by Mike Runge, also with the USGS. The Runge et al. estimated population growth
rates for the Northwest, Upper St. Johns River, and Atlantic Coast manatee populations yield
results very similar to those obtained by Eberhardt and O'Shea (1995): the Northwest and Upper
St. Johns River groups are increasing, while the Atlantic group could be increasing at a somewhat
lower rate, or possibly even declining. Runge modeled the latter group under optimistic and
pessimistic scenarios. In the optimistic scenario, he assumed that adult survival, reproduction,
and annual variation in these and other model parameters were moderate, i.e., that they matched
the current estimates of survival and reproduction for this region. In the pessimistic scenario, he
used a lower survival rate, moderate reproduction, and higher variability in model parameters.
Runge emphasized that many of the manatee's life history parameters are still poorly known,
particularly for the Atlantic Coast population, and even the best estimates (e.g., of adult survival)
have sizeable sampling error. Given the uncertainties, the take-home message seems to be that
although there are hopeful signs of manatee recovery in at least some regions, they aren't out of
the woods yet!
The reviewers were unanimous in their rejection of the synoptic survey data as a means to
determine population trend. However, several managers felt that having some idea of the
minimum population size was useful. Use of aerial surveys to determine manatee distribution
and habitat was strongly supported by both researchers and managers.
Cathy Langtimm, Ken Pollock, Jim Nichols, Fred Johnson, and others recommended that future
studies be designed to better understand causal relationships between management actions and
population response, rather than simply being retrospective. Examples would be development of
an adaptive management model to evaluate the potential impacts of changes in warm water
availability on manatees, and determining efficacy of management actions to reduce deaths
caused by manatee/watercraft collision.
Dan Goodman emphasized that managers will need to trust complex models that integrate
information from different data sets in order to make sound decisions. The influence of habitat
quality and nutrition on reproductive rates must also be incorporated.
Solange Brault and Aleta Hohn expressed concern about the lack of information on manatee
reproduction in the Southwest region. They cautioned against extrapolating parameter estimates
from other regions to the Southwest, and suggested that genetic markers and other tools need to
be further developed to understand potential differences among regional groups.
The reviewers and many other participants believed that Population Viability Analysis (PVA)
would be the best way to integrate available data sets and estimates to develop a forward-looking
projection of manatee status. The impact of growth of Florida's human population (projected to
double in the next 30 years) cannot be overlooked in development of a manatee PVA.
The strongest recommendation to come out of the workshop that is important to manatee status re-
evaluation is that status needs to be projected forward in time. Any status re-evaluation must,
therefore, also include assessment of potential changes in manatee habitat, particularly in light of
human population growth and coastal development.
The reviewers unanimously called for better communication among managers, researchers, and
other stakeholders concerned with manatee recovery issues. This workshop was a huge step in
the right direction, but renewed commitments to improve communication must be acted upon
immediately to keep the momentum going.
The FWS plans to follow up quickly with a smaller meeting to specifically address negligible
impact under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as their draft rule for manatees is due by 5
November 2002. They plan to review manatee status in early 2003. The FWCC will be
reviewing the State's designation of manatee status even sooner. Both agencies will undoubtedly
draw upon information presented at the April workshop, and may use some of the same scientists
to assist them in their review processes. Lynn Lefebvre (Sirenia Project, U.S. Geological
Survey, Florida Caribbean Science Center)
MARINE MAMMAL CONFERENCE IN MEXICO
La Sociedad Mexicana de Mastozoologia Marina, A.C.
XXVII Reuni6n Internacional para el Estudio de los Mamiferos Marinos
XXVII International Annual Meeting for the Study of Marine Mammals
Mayo 12-15, 2002/May 12-15, 2002
Hotel Villa del Mar/ Villa del Mar Hotel and Acuario de Veracruz/Veracruz Aquarium
City of Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico.
Informaci6n mas detallada en la pagina de internet de la SOMEMMA
More information at the web page of the SOMEMMA,
Tambien puedes contactar al Comite Organizador de la XXVII reunion
Or contact the Conference Committee:
President Academico: Dr. Luis Medrano G.,
President Ejecutiva: Biol. Blanca Cortina,
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Sirenian International is a grassroots organization dedicated to worldwide manatee and dugong conservation through
research and education. We are interested in sponsoring research, conservation, and education projects involving
manatees and/or dugongs around the world, with priority given to projects in developing nations where funding is
traditionally difficult to secure. We funded one project (on dugongs in Vietnam, by Nick Cox; see report in this
issue) in 2001; we expect to fund two projects in 2002; typical awards are US $500 $1,000.
There is no deadline for application; proposals are accepted year-round. HOWEVER, grants are awarded subject to
review by our Scientific Advisory Council and the availability of funds. Please send a preliminary email to Sirenian
International Grant Proposals (c/o ) to determine current availability of funds and status of
the review process, which is semi-annual and roughly correlated with Sirenews publication dates of April and
In keeping with our mission of sirenian conservation through inter-cultural collaboration, we encourage networking,
community outreach, and student development components in all proposals. We will use the following criteria to
evaluate grant proposals:
Involvement of recognized representatives of host countries (e. g. governmental agencies, NGOs, academic
institutions, local students) in the planning, implementation and/or evaluation of the proposed project.
Inclusion of local people/communities in project design, implementation, data collection, and/or data
Sound project design, meeting the standards of peer review.
Demonstrated effectiveness at presenting results to popular and technical audiences.
Intent to publish findings at scientific meetings, in peer-reviewed journals and/or through the public media (e.
g., popular magazines, newsletters, radio, TV, Internet).
Plan for information outreach prior to, during, and/or after the conclusion of the project (e.g. newsletter
articles, local presentations).
Sirenian International believes that the benefits of projects meeting the above criteria reach far beyond research and
academia, to facilitate sharing of knowledge with local communities, students, governmental agencies, non-
governmental agencies, and other conservation groups. Although our focus is on manatees and dugongs, SI hopes
that our grant applicants will better understand the complexity of conservation issues, and the compelling need for
partnerships among all parties involved, in both developing and industrialized nations.
Each grant recipient agrees to register with Sirenian International as a Participating Member and to submit
information about their project to SI for use on our website and in our newsletter. To apply for a small grant, please
submit the following:
Cover letter, briefly outlining your request for funds (1-2 pages).
A concise proposal (5-10 pages) that includes:
relevance of study and appropriate background information, including a literature review;
clearly stated objectives and how the anticipated results of the project relate to the stated goals of any
appropriate manatee or dugong conservation efforts within your host country or at the regional level if
your host country has no conservation program;
clearly stated methods, estimated duration of the project, and plans for follow-up, application of
results, and/or future work;
resume or CV (1-2 pages) for each investigator listed;
detailed budget (1-2 pages), including matching funds, if necessary to complete project and whether
matching funds are applied for or already secured.
Two (min) to three (max) letters of recommendation (1-2 pages), complete with your reference's contact
information (e-mail addresses and phone numbers preferred). If you are a student, one letter should be from
your academic advisor; if you are working within an organization, one letter should be from your supervisor
or executive director.
IMPORTANT: Electronic submissions are preferred. DO combine the cover letter, proposal, CV, budget, etc., in
ONE file and send as attachment to e-mail [MSWord document (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf)]. DO NOT use
fancy formatting; DO NOT include images or photos in the document; DO have your reference letters sent in the
same manner. Submit to . For more information, please visit our website at
sirenian.org> or contact Caryn Self Sullivan (snail mail: 200 Stonewall Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22401 USA; e-
mail: ). All applications will be sent for review to our Scientific Advisory Council (SAC);
grants will be awarded by our Board of Directors (BOD) based on recommendations from the SAC and the
availability of funds. Sirenian International, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation.
THE EMILY B. SHANE AWARD
The Emily B. Shane Award supports conservation-oriented, non-harmful field research on free-ranging
odontocetes and sirenians. ("Non-harmful research" is that which poses a minimal risk to the health and life of an
individual animal and to other species within the ecosystem. Research that entails capture or invasive techniques is
acceptable only if carried out by competent, experienced personnel and provides clear benefits in terms of
conservation and scientific knowledge. Applicant must document previous experience and outcomes.)
The award honors Emily B. Shane (1924-1995), a fine amateur naturalist and dedicated conservationist. Funds are
awarded to projects with clear conservation priorities for an odontocete or sirenian species, population, or habitat
critical to the species. Research that also impacts a local human community in terms of increased public awareness,
capacity building, or education may be given special consideration. The award, given annually, will total
approximately US$10,000. The award committee may opt to divide the award among two or more applicants.
Although awards will be made for no more than one year at a time, applicants may apply more than once for the
Applications are due by Monday, 10 June 2002. Proposals must be submitted via e-mail as .rtf or .pdf files to
and should not exceed 200 KB. Do not include figures or photographs in the
proposal. Applicants unable to submit an application by e-mail may request permission to send three printed copies;
requests must be submitted to the e-mail address above. Award recipients) will be announced by 2 September 2002.
Evaluation Criteria: The application must include the following materials:
A proposal, not exceeding three pages in length (Times font, 12 point type, single space, 2 cm margins).
Briefly outline the proposed research, objectives of the study, methods, role of the proposed work in
conservation, the time period for the research, persons) conducting the field research and role of each, and
A budget, including other funding applied for, or already held, for the proposed research. Applicants with
reasonable budgets who demonstrate the greatest financial need will be given special attention. Funding
requests should be for direct field research expenses only.
A current C.V./resume of the applicant, up to three pages in length.
Three references with e-mail address, phone number, and relationship to applicant.
Eligibility: The award is available to students and other researchers who meet the evaluation criteria. The
application should be submitted by the person conducting the research. A student's professor should send a cover
letter of support, if his/her involvement in the project is essential to the completion of the project. Applicants must
have obtained any necessary permits or authorizations for conducting the proposed research before the award funds
Hand-Raised Dugong CalfRehabilitated and Released On Tuesday, 12 March 2002, a hand-
raised male dugong aged 3 years 3.5 months was returned to the wild in a joint operation by Sea
World Enterprises (Gold Coast, Australia) and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
(QPWS). This is the same individual that was featured in Sirenews No. 31 (April 1999) and No.
33 (April 2000), who arrived at Sea World on 28 November 1998 at 109.1cm / 19.7kg and upon
release was 219.7cm / 197.5kg. To the best of our knowledge he may be the first neonatal dugong
to have been hand-raised to independence and the only hand-raised dugong to have been released,
although I would welcome being corrected if this is a misconception (in Sirenews No. 33, staff of
Toba Aquarium, Japan mentioned "an infant" when describing the rehabilitation and release of
accidentally-caught dugongs at Palawan Island, Philippines).
The Queensland dugong, known by those closest to him simply as "the pig", was released into
Moreton Bay in southeastern Queensland complete with a peduncle belt, 3m tether and PTT/VHF
transmitter, the latter generously loaned to us by Prof. Helene Marsh and Dr. Ivan Lawler of
James Cook University, Townsville. Prior to final release the dugong was staged for 4 months in
a large, naturally-formed saltwater lagoon on Moreton Island. In this lagoon, which contained
abundant seagrass, the pig gained 5kg in weight, grew about 5cm in length, and demonstrated a
remarkable capacity to evade people, boats and nets during numerous unsuccessful attempts to
recapture him. Unfortunately (for us, but probably not the animal), his entire tracking harness was
recovered from the southern end of Moreton Island on Friday, 15 March, 2.75 days after release
into the Bay. The harness had broken through the deliberate weak link within the peduncle belt,
and the transmitter pod bore numerous unmistakable shark teeth marks.
Detachment of the tracking device thwarts our intention to monitor the dugong's progress, but
should not significantly alter his survivability (unless he does something completely
inappropriate like head out into the Pacific Ocean). He has two forms of permanent identification
- freeze brands on the shoulder region, and two titanium turtle tags in the trailing edge of his
fluke although neither will be obvious to the casual and/or distant observer. Local residents
from Moreton Island and dugong researchers from the University of Queensland are keeping an
eye out for him, and so far we have received two reports from fishermen of sightings of a solitary
dugong of the appropriate size, in the vicinity of where his transmitter was found. We will be
revisiting the release area as weather permits to search systematically in that locality. Wendy
Blanshard (Sea World Enterprises, P. 0. Box 190, Surfers Paradise, Queensland 4217 Australia;
tel.: 61-7-5588-2222; fax: 61-7-5588-2266; e-mail: )
A New Baby Amazonian Manatee. The team of the Aquatic Mammal Lab of INPA, Manaus, are
proud to announce the third birth of an Amazonian manatee conceived and born in captivity. This is the
second successful birth, this time from a female called Tukano, kept in captivity since 1984. Intense
courtship and copulation behavior were observed in February 2001. In April, due to the constant
harassment of the males, Tukano was separated and maintained in a different pool with Boo and her two
adopted calves (see Sirenews No. 36, 2001). Once the pregnancy was suspected, she was kept alone.
The pregnancy was confirmed visually about 10 weeks prior to the birth when it was observed
that the vulva was swollen and extended. An ultrasound examination was performed on 19
January, to confirm the pregnancy and to try to estimate the size of the fetus. From late January
until 3 weeks after the birth, Tukano and her calf s behavior were monitored by underwater TV
and recorded on videotape. On 21 February, after 2:20 hours of intense labor, a male calf
weighing 18 kg and 101 cm long was born. From the rupture of the placenta and the exposition of
the tail there was an interval of 1:10 hours before birth. The calf went straight to the surface to
breathe; records of the sounds revealed that mother and calf were vocalizing all the time.
Differently from the other mother manatee Boo (Sirenews No. 30, 1998), Tukano wasn't very
cooperative in nursing her calf. After 48 hours without letting him feed we decide to intervene.
The mother was restrained in shallow water while we raised her flipper, directing the calf to the
teat. For 8 days, every hour or every time we noticed the baby wanted to feed, a team of 3 people
held the mother and helped the calf nurse. Although the calf wasn't losing weight, when we had
almost given up to start an artificial diet, Tukano finally decided to let her calf nurse, slowing
down, waiting for him and stretching her flipper. After two weeks nursing from his mother, the
calf gained 2 kg.
Milk collection, diving frequency, behavior and vocalization are being recorded. Vera M. F.
Amazonian Manatee Rehabili-tated and Released On 8 February 2002, Airuwe, an
Amazonian manatee aged 3 years 8 months, was returned to the wild by the Omacha Foundation
of Leticia and the community of Puerto Narifto. Airuwe was released in the Tarapoto lake system
in the Colombian Amazon, close to well-established manatee feeding areas. He was captured in a
net near Puerto Narifto in mid-1998 and wounded by fishermen, then transferred to the Omacha
Foundation. The Foundation fed, cared for and rehabilitated Airuwe with a view to
reintroduction, and he became the focus of a manatee conservation campaign in the region.
Airuwe was examined by Marcia Picanco, a Brazilian veterinarian, before release and found to be
in good health. He was fitted with a belt-mounted transmitter donated by the Instituto Mamiraud
(Brazil) and is being tracked by a team of local fishermen and former manatee hunters. During
the first ten days after release he moved back and forth through channels in the flooded forest to
nearby lakes, returning close to the release point. Freshly chewed aquatic grasses and plants were
found near his main resting place.
We would like to thank all the people who have helped us with the difficult but satisfying task of
bringing up and reintroducing an Amazonian manatee, in particular veterinarians Greg Bossart
and Marcia Picanco, Miriam Marmontel of the Instituto Mamiraud, Jim Reid and Bob Bonde of
the Sirenia Project, Salud Colpatria, the Columbus Zoo, Save the Manatee Club, Corpoamazonia
(Leticia), Fauna and Flora International, the British Embassy Bogota, Jim Valade, Antonio
Mignucci, Ruby Montoya, Timothy Ross, Elizabeth Kendall, and numerous fishermen in the
Puerto Narifo area. (Source: SIRENIAN Listserv)
New Antillean Manatee Exhibit in Denmark. The Zoo of Odense, Denmark, has just imported
four Antillean Manatees from Georgetown, Guyana to accompany the solitary Henriette which, I
understand, was born in the Nuernberg Zoo in Germany.
The four apparently arrived in good shape. I haven't been there yet but in the TV feature their
aquarium within the new South America Complex appears very spacious and attractive both for
animals and visitors. The Zoo hopes the animals will breed. The Zoo of Nuernberg, where
Henriette came from, claims that they raised 14 manatees and are the most successful zoo at
breeding Antillean manatees in captivity.
Two Web pages, and
aktuelt.htm>, give more details in Danish, of which I speak zero now at least I know that soko
means seacow and sokoer is the plural. Gisela & Hans Rothauscher
To Downlist or Not to Downlist? On 30 Oct. 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(FWS) approved the Third Revision of the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, following public
review of two prior drafts. These drafts updated the Second Revision of the plan, issued in 1996.
As reported in recent issues of Sirenews, the main points of contention in the Third Revision
involved the proposed population benchmarks that have to be achieved before downlisting (from
Endangered to Threatened status) or delisting of manatees can be considered.
In the end, FWS still did not completely accept the recommendations of its own experts
on the Manatee Population Status Working Group (MPSWG). The most important remaining
differences in the critical numbers adopted were: average annual adult survival rate of at least
90% (as opposed to at least 94%, with statistical confidence that it is not less than 90%); and
average annual rate of population growth of zero or greater (as opposed to at least 4%, with
statistical confidence that it is not less than zero). (A 95% confidence level applies throughout
both the MPSWG and FWS versions.) Although the final numbers were an improvement over the
earlier drafts, nonetheless the inescapable conclusion is that FWS has lowered the bar to
downlisting. Whereas the two smallest Florida subpopulations (Northwest and Upper St. Johns
River) already meet either set of criteria, the much larger Atlantic Coast subpopulation meets
only the less stringent FWS criteria for potential downlisting (data from the Southwest area are
In 2001, at least 325 manatees died from various natural and human-related causes; at least 81 of
these deaths were caused by watercraft. Both total deaths and watercraft-caused deaths increased
from the year before. Since these figures represent only known manatee deaths, the actual
numbers of both total deaths and watercraft-caused mortalities are likely considerably greater.
Even using these figures, however, the total number of manatee deaths is 10% of the 3,276
manatees counted during the winter synoptic aerial surveys conducted in January 2001 -- which
was the highest number of manatees ever recorded in such a survey.
The situation thus far this year is even more bleak. According to the Florida Marine
Research Institute, as of March 22, 38 manatees have been killed by boats since the beginning of the
year. This figure compares to 12 watercraft mortalities at the end of March 2001.
Thus, the manatee is currently confronting precisely the situation which the FWS has declared (in
its Biological Opinion on the CSLNG Development Project, Aug. 17, 1998, p. 7) to be a "critical
threshold for the survival and recovery" of the species: an overall mortality rate at or exceeding
10% of the population. Under these circumstances, the FWS has declared ibidd., p. 6) that
avoiding jeopardy to the species "depends on reducing" -- not merely avoiding further increases
in -- manatee mortality. In turn, any serious effort to reduce overall manatee mortalities depends
on reducing the number of manatees killed by boats, since "[t]he most significant problem faced
by manatees in Florida is death or serious injury from boat strikes" (Recovery Plan, p. 23).
Indeed, the FWS has declared (Recovery Plan, pp. 116, 121) that "[m]inimiz[ing] collisions
between manatees and watercraft" is an "action that must be taken to prevent extinction" of the
species. Until this is done, talk of downlisting seems premature.
Stomach Contents of Dugongs from Okinawa, Southern Japan, from 1992 to 2000. -
Quantitative analyses of the stomach contents from four mature dugongs, two females and two
males, obtained at Okinawa Island (two from the western coast on January 1996 and August 2000
and two from the eastern coast on May 1992 and April 2000, respectively) due to stranding and
by-catch, were conducted under a collaborative study program with Okinawa Expo Aquarium
and Mie University. The stomach contents of the four animals consisted almost entirely of
seagrasses; annelids, ascidians and algae were very minor components of the contents. Each
stomach contained 4 to 6 species of seagrass, and a total of 7 species of seagrass, belonging to 5
genera in 2 families, were identified from stomach contents and are known to occur commonly in
coastal waters of Okinawa Island: Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrlnhla, Halodule uninervis, H.
pinifolia, Halophila ovalis, Syringodium isoetifolium, and Thalassia hemprichii. However, the
number and relative abundances of seagrass species from the stomach contents differed among
the specimens. Halophila ovalis occurred in any stomach; S. isoetifolium was abundant in the
stomachs from the eastern coast of the island, while C. serrulata was on the western coast. This
evidence may suggest that the dugongs in Okinawan waters show little food preference, or
dominant seagrass distribution is different between the western and eastern coasts of Okinawa
Island. We will continue our study to analyze stomach contents of the dugongs, as well as to
survey distributions of feeding trenches of dugongs, and species composition and abundance of
seagrass beds in the coastal waters of the Island. Kana AKETA (Aquatic Ecology Laboratory,
Faculty of Bioresources, Mie University, 1515 Kamihama, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan (tel.: +81-
59-232-1211 (ext.2510), +81-59-231-9649 (ext.2510); fax: +81-59-231-9538; e-mail:
Dugong Mitochondrial Genome Sequences Obtained Modern molecular techniques are
currently being used to answer some interesting questions about dugong evolution and population
structure. The complete mitochondrial genomes from two dugongs have recently been sequenced,
one by a group of researchers at Massey University, New Zealand and the other by the Lund
University research group in Sweden. These sequences will be used to help resolve ancestral
relationships amongst mammals.
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells. Their main function is respiration and they exist in
many copies per cell. Vertebrate mitochondrial (mt) DNA is about 17,000 base pairs in length,
and codes for 20 transfer RNAs and 13 proteins that are involved in processes common to all
living things. Complete mt genomes have proven to be useful for phylogeny reconstruction,
particularly for mammalian evolution. Latest results in this field are showing a high congruence
between trees constructed using mt data and those from nuclear markers. One of the problems
with earlier trees was that the branch leading to the elephant was very long, and this can mislead
tree reconstruction methods (this is the problem of "long branch attraction"). Dugongs are
thought to be one of the closest living relatives of elephants. Adding the dugong sequences to the
data set appears to break up the long elephant branch, thereby improving both the stability and
the reliability of the mammalian tree.
Mitochondrial DNA also contains a small, extremely variable region known as the D-loop/
control region. This region is useful for addressing ecological questions about existing dugong
populations. An initial analysis of this region in the two recently sequenced dugongs, by
researchers from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, showed that the two dugongs
came from different areas, one from the seas around Brisbane and the other from further north. -
Trish McLenachan (Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, Massey
University, Palmerston North, New Zealand)
Dugongs at Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines. My name is Rowan Byrne
and I am an Irish marine and freshwater biologist working in Mindanao, Philippines. I am based
in Surigao del Sur, in a small place called Hinatuan. It has extensive seagrass beds that are in
exceptionally good condition -- the main reason why a small population of dugongs reside there.
When I first arrived I was told of the presence of dugongs and up to 5 species of endangered
turtles in the area, and was given pictures to prove it -- quite a surprise, as I found out afterwards
when I reported it to the National Government; they were unaware that the population existed!
Modern records support the presence of dugongs (Dugong dugon) in Hinatuan as far back as
1950, but they most likely inhabited the area even before this date. Over the past several decades,
dugong numbers have slowly decreased due to (1) illegal fishing techniques such as dynamite and
cyanide fishing; (2) the extensive uncontrolled use of fish corrals and illegal mesh size fishing in
protected areas; and (3) illegal over-expansion of fish ponds.
For decades, the DENR (Department for Environment and Natural Resources) assumed the
population was extinct in Surigao. As a result, no new endeavors were initiated to protect or
preserve this endangered species in the Surigao del Sur region. My initial research indicates that,
in the Surigao region, dugongs can only be found in Hinatuan. They appear to be extinct in the
surrounding areas of Surigao del Sur, with unconfirmed recent reports at Sairgao Island, Surigao
In April 2001, a baby dugong was killed in a fish corral, and after interviewing local people, I
found that two other baby dugongs had been killed in the last 6 months. I contacted national
governmental agencies and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), who acknowledged that
they were unaware of the presence of dugongs in the Hinatuan area, and stated that they
had terminated recent surveys 200 km south of there, thus missing the whole area.
From October 2000 to October 2001, five baby dugongs were killed, and one tagged and released
by fishermen, all in Hinatuan municipal waters. This is strong evidence that either the population
did not go extinct, or that the area has been re-populated in recent years. But, with five infants
killed in the past year, and increasing fishing intensity, is there hope for continued recovery? At
present the outlook is bleak. The dugong's plight here is very serious and will require equipment,
funding, support and enforcement. I am publicizing these data to raise the profile of dugongs in
the Philippines. I have done this already in national papers, magazines both national and
international, and have national and international TV channels documenting my work here, such
as National Geographic Channel Asia.
There is massive opportunity here for scientific research, not to mention Ph.D. possibilities. If
anyone has suggestions I would be delighted to hear from you. Rowan Byrne (Centre for
Empowerment & Resource Development Inc. (CERD) and Voluntary Service Overseas,
Philippines (VSOP); firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dugong Death at Hinatuan Bay, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao. An approximately 200-300kg
male dugong (total length 197cm) was killed in Hinatuan Bay, not far from Mahaba Island and
near the Municipal Fish Sanctuary. It was found floating dead inside a fish corral, and its
abdomen was severely bloated. It appeared to have been dead 2-4 hours when the fish corral
owner arrived at about 8 AM on 14 December 2001. It was taken to Mahaba Island for
examination and photographs, where it was then buried and not eaten, despite its being Christmas
-- showing that the people are concerned about the species and its conservation.
It had fish net markings and scars all over its dorsal surface (back) that looked like coral cuts, and
up to 6 slashes behind its head and upper dorsal region that appeared not to be from netting; they
could be described as man-made. These slashes were 1 to 2 inches deep, cutting deep into flesh,
and blood flow could be seen 3-4 inches behind the left eye. In one of the photos there appear to
be remains of blood flow from the right nostril. It appears that the dugong was caught in a net,
and as the net was being pulled in the dugong was found alive, so the net owners tried
unsuccessfully to kill the animal with some sort of knife or machete, and the dugong somehow
managed to get free and swim for safety. It began to approach or return to the area inshore that
may serve as a safe haven for dugongs in Hinatuan Bay, and somehow it may have been
disturbed and began to return to the open sea when it entered a fish corral and later died from the
incisions and cuts it received. The dugong also appeared severely bloated, so there is a possibility
of poisoning, maybe due to dynamite or cyanide fishing. Compiled by Rowan Byrne; field
details taken by Gary Cacho.
Observations of the Dugong in Con Dao National Park, Vietnam, and Recommendations for
Further Research. The dugong is perhaps the most endangered sea mammal in Vietnam. There
are few scientific records available about the distribution, abundance and ecology of dugongs in
Vietnam. Con Dao archipelago in southern Vietnam is the only location in the country where
dugongs are regularly seen. Local fisher interviews conducted in October 2000 in Con Dao (Cox,
unpublished) revealed that dugongs were seen much more regularly and in greater abundance 10-
25 years ago than they are now. Whilst it appears that dugongs were often hunted specifically for
meat and medicinal purposes, dugongs caught now are caught accidentally, and mortality is
presumably as a result of drowning in nets. Nine dugong carcasses were recorded in Con Dao
between 1997 and 2000. The results of this study add important information about this species to
the sparse information currently available; further research is required particularly for Vietnam
and neighboring countries.
The study area consisted of a number of small sheltered bays within the Con Dao archipelago,
located approximately 85 km southeast of mainland Vietnam in the South China Sea. The group
of 14 islands has a mountainous landscape, and is largely forested and fringed with coral reefs
and small patches of mangrove forest. Con Dao National Park protects 80% of the total land
area, including 5,998 ha of forest, 14,000 ha of sea and an additional sea buffer zone of 20,000
ha. The present study was undertaken in three sites in Con Son Bay, although predominantly in
Dat Doc Bay.
Dugongs were observed during November 2001-January 2002 from a number of elevated hillside
vantage points. Observations were made with unaided and aided sight, using 10x50 binoculars
mounted on a tripod for long-range observations. On spotting dugongs at the water surface, notes
were taken on the period of time the animal spent at the surface, the time spent submerged
between successive surfacings, and also on the behavior of the dugong at the surface including
the number of breaths taken. If the dugong was in shallow water, notes were also made on
behavior under the water surface Free-ranging dugongs were observed on 13 separate days in
November 2001, 7 days in December 2001 and 9 days in January 2002, out of a total of 37 days
spent observing. Transect surveys were conducted at two sites in order to assess seagrass species
composition and density of dugong feeding trails.
Thirty-three free-ranging dugongs were observed between November 2001 and January 2002.
Dugongs were seen during morning and afternoon observation periods and at both high and low
tide. Dugongs were observed feeding in seagrass beds ranging from 3-10m in depth. On several
occasions, mothers and calves were seen together and in each case the behavior of the juvenile
dugong was observed rather than the adult. On one occasion 3 dugongs were seen together.
Insufficient data were recorded to enable comparison between sub-mergence times of dugongs
feeding in deep water (up to 12m) and submergence times in shallower water (1-4m), although
there may be other factors involved, such as seagrass cover. However, there appears to be an
effect of tides on submergence times, with dugongs appearing to surface more frequently at low
tide than at high tide.
The mean submergence time of 4.2 minutes compares favorably with observations recorded in
Indonesia by De Iongh et al. (1997) of 4.6 minutes, surveys that were also done in deeper water
up to 9m depth, compared to observations made in shallow water up to 3m in Australia by
Anderson and Birtles (1978) who recorded an average submergence time of 1.2 minutes. This
supports the suggestion by De Iongh et al. that submergence time correlates with the depth of the
Recommendations for further research:
1. Long-term study of the dugong population in Con Dao in association with seasonal
changes in seagrass composition and abundance. Construct portable viewing platforms for
erection in subtidal seagrass beds in Lo Voi and on Lo Voi Cape. This would be an ideal
study for a Vietnamese Masters or Ph.D. student with support from an institution such as the
2. Research into the possibility of stabilizing slopes adjacent to Con Dao's roads in an
attempt to reduce soil erosion during heavy rains.
3. Surveys in other known seagrass habitats in Vietnam, including Phu Quoc island, and Nha
4. Local community interviews in other Vietnamese coastal provinces.
5. Collaboration with Cambodian and perhaps Thai authorities on transboundary dugong
Anderson, P K., and Birtles, A. 1978. Behaviour and ecology of the Dugong, Dugong dugon (Sirenia):
Observations in Shoalwater and Cleveland Bays, Queensland. Australian Wildlife Research 5: 1-23.
Beasley, I., Davidson, P., Phay Somnay, and Leng Sam Ath. 2001. Abundance, distribution and conservation
management of marine mammals in Cambodia's coastal waters. Interim Report. Wildlife Conservation Society,
Department of Fisheries, Cambodia.
Cox, N. (unpublished). 2000. Preliminary status report for the Dugong dugon in Con Dao National Park -
De Iongh, H. H., Bierhuizen, B., and van Orden, B. 1997. Observations on the behaviour of the Dugong
(Dugong dugon Muller, 1776) from waters of the Lease Islands, eastern Indonesia. Contributions to Zoology 67
Lang Van Ken. 1997. New Record of dugong in Con Dao waters, southern Vietnam. Sirenews 27: 17-18.
Marsh, H., Eros, C., Corkeron, P., and Breen, B. 1999. A conservation strategy for dugongs: implications of
Australian research. Marine & Freshwater Research 50: 979-990.
Van Bree, P. J. and Gallagher, M. D. 1977. Catalogue de la collection des mammiferes marines du Museum de
Bordeaux. Ann. Soc. Sci. Nat. Char-Marit. 6: 289-307.
Acknowledgements: This study was made possible by a grant from Sirenian International, Inc.,
who also funded the publication of a dugong children's book, which we distributed to local
schools near our study area. Additional support for living expenses came from Voluntary Service
Overseas (VSO) Vietnam and from Con Dao National Park. I am particularly grateful for the
advice given on undertaking dugong surveys by Dr. Ivan Lawler of James Cook University,
Queensland, Australia. In Con Dao, survey assistance was given by Tran Cong Binh, Tran Van
Tien, Huynh Van Hung and my wife, Steph. Finally, I express my gratitude to Le Xuan Ai, Con
Dao National Park director, for providing the opportunity to work in Con Dao and offering full
access to all available resources. Nick Cox
The following abstracts are of papers and posters presented at the 14th Biennial
Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 28 Nov.-3 Dec.
Current Research on the Status, Distribution and Biology of the Dugong (Dugong dugon) in Thailand.
Adulyanukosol, Kanjanal; Hines, Ellen2
(1) Phuket Marine Biological Center, Dept. of Fisheries, PO Box 60, Phuket, 83000, Thailand
(2) San Francisco State University
The dugong in Thailand is close to extinction, and has been declared a reserved and protected aquatic species under the Thai Fishery Act since
1947. Although the overall population consists of small groups scattered along the coast, sizeable numbers of animals have been observed by
aerial surveys at Talibong and Muk Islands, Trang province, in the Andaman Sea. Areas including and surrounding these seagrass beds are highly
recommended for protection as the first Dugong and Seagrass Sanctuary in Thailand. For the past 2 years, aerial surveys using strip transects have
been completed in areas with known dugong presence based on interviews, as well as previous aerial and seagrass surveys. The estimated
minimum abundance in Trang at this time is 123 animals, with a maximum of 13 calves. The largest group size seen is 53 dugongs in the seagrass
beds southeast of Talibong Island. Interviews have also been conducted with villagers since 1994 along the coast to determine the distribution of
the dugong both modem and historically in the areas that border populations. Attempts to keep stranded dugongs in captivity have been conducted
at Phuket Marine Biological Center, the center for research on endangered marine mammals along the Andaman coast, since 1979, and the
maximum period that a dugong survived was 200 days. Age determination research using tusks has been conducted on 12 dugong carcasses, and
has shown that they were between 1 and 43 years old. In addition, the stomach contents of 6 dugongs were examined and 9 species of seagrasses
were found. The dominant seagrass species observed was the species found most commonly in places where the carcasses of dugongs had been
found D. dugongs are occasionally entangled or drowned in fishing gears. Among various types of gears, gill nets are considered to be the main
cause of death of dugongs. To continue this research and create an adequate plan for the conservation of the dugong in Thailand, especially in
areas like Trang province, there urgently needs to be more cooperation between government and non-government organizations and local people.
Stomach Content Analysis of a Dugong (Dugong dugon) from Okinawa, Southern Japan. Aketa, Kanal; Uchida,
Senzo2; Higashi, Naoto2; Kawamura, Akito1
(1) Faculty ofBioresources, Mie University, 1515-Kamihama, Tsu, Mie, 514-8507, Japan
(2) Okinawa Expo Aquarium
We performed a detailed quantitative analysis of the stomach contents from an adult male dugong (Dugong dugon), 255 cm in body length and
190kg in body weight, stranded on the central beach along the western coast of Okinawa Island, on 5 April 2000. Dugong strandings are rare in
Japan and this carcass provided us with a first opportunity to understand the feeding ecology of dugongs in Okinawan waters. The contents from
the stomach were collected and preserved in 10% formaldehyde. Each fragment was identified to species and categorized as leaf, rhizome or root
using dissecting microscopy. Five seagrass species were identified: leaf material of Halophila ovalis was mainly found in contents, followed by
that of Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule pinifolia and H. uninervis; rhizome and root materials, mainly consisted of H. ovalis and S.
isoetifolium. It is thought the seagrasses on which dugongs feed in Okinawan waters are presented at least 5 species, nevertheless 10 species have
distributed in this waters. It is difficult to consider that the dugong accidentally feeds on H. ovalis and S. isoetifolium, since S. isoetifolium
commonly distributes along the western coast of Okinawa Island while H. ovalis does not commonly. The number of seagrass species, fed on by
the examined dugong in Okinawan waters, was smaller than the number fed on by dugongs in other waters such as Australia and Indonesia.
Although several seagrass species on which the dugongs fed in those waters are found in Okinawan waters, the examined dugong did not feed on
these seagrasses, mainly fed on the whole material, from leaf to root, of H. ovalis, followed by that of S. isoetifolium.
Individual Variation in the Vocal Behavior of the Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus). Alicea-Pou, Josel;
Harvey, James2; Mignucci-Gianoni, Antoniol; Mellinger, Dave3
(1) Caribbean Marine Mammal Laboratory, PO Box 334395, Ponce, 00733, Puerto Rico
(2) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
(3) Oregon State University
The individual variability in sound characteristics and call types categories among four captive Antillean manatees was studied. We selected a set
of sound parameters to characterize individual manatee vocalizations and to quantify the distinctive features that we recognized as important for
distinguishing the manatee calls. The discriminant function analysis was used to find a linear combination of the measured sound parameters that
grouped individual manatees based on similarities and differences in their acoustic characteristics. An analysis of variance performed among the
repertoire of four individual manatees revealed that each was significantly (P < 0.05) from the others. The four captive animals included in the
analysis had an increasing level of complexity in their vocal behavior. Tamaury's calls had one visible band, same sound quality, and very little
modulation. Moises' calls were classified as the same call variant, but had a harmonic structure with more variability in modulation and multiple
emphasized harmonics. Katsy had one call variant but some of the calls were classified as subvariants due to a slightly different sound quality. A
higher number of her calls had different spectrographic structures (harmonic, noisy, formant-like, nonlinear phenomena). Lastly, calls from Baby
were classified as two variants and under three spectrographic structures. Here also the variability in frequency modulation, number of bands,
emphasized frequency and location of the sound energy bands was more complex. The moderate variability among individuals suggested that
these features have been selected for stereotype, and possibly could be useful for individual recognition. Additional to the inter-individual
variability, among these manatee there was also sources of intra-individual variability in the number of bands, the modulation, duration, peak
frequency, call structure, and frequency range. The levels of acoustic variation we described still need to be empirically tested by playback
manipulation to be validated as significant within manatee acoustic behavior
Assessment of the Use of San Juan Bay, Puerto Rico, by Dolphins and Manatees. Alsina-Guerrero, Mayela M.1
Rodriguez-L6pez, Marta A. ; Mignucci-Giannoni, Antonio AI
(1) Caribbean Marine Mammal Laboratory, Universidad Metropolitana, PO Box 361715, San Juan, PR, 00936-1715, United States
Dolphins and manatees were commonly seen in San Juan Bay in the 1970s and 1980s, but recently the number of sightings has dramatically been
reduced. The manatee (Trichechus manatus) has been documented at the entrance of the bay and in its southern-most areas, using the channels
connecting to the rest of the estuarine system. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were commonly seen in the entrance of the bay and
channels near the Isla Grande Airport. Twenty-nine standings and mortality cases have been reported from Toa Baja to Loiza in the past 30 years.
Thirty-eight sightings have been reported in a period of thirty years. Interviews with local fishermen and harbor patrol captains have revealed a
significant decrease in sightings of these animals. We present a systematic study to asses the population status of dolphins and manatees that use
San Juan Bay Estuary. Observations were made using ship and air-based line transect methods. Boat surveys were conducted since April 2000
aboard a 6.7-m Angler boat, once a week during the semester and four times a week during the summer, and aboard an A-star AES350B helicopter
along the shelf edge, inside the bay, Laguna del Condado, Laguna San Jos6 and Laguna Torecilla. Sighted animals were photographed for photo-
identification purposes and the events were entered in a sighting database. From 1999 to 2001, only six sightings have been documented, two
bottlenose dolphin sightings and four manatee sightings, clearly indicating a recent reduced use of the San Juan Bay by these species. The reason
for this decline still remains to be identified.
The Status and Conservation of Marine Mammals in the Philippines. Aragones, Lemnuel V. Institute of Biological
Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Animal Biology Division, Los Banos, Laguna, 4031, Philippines
Starting in early 1997, an assessment of the status and conservation of the marine mammals within the Philippine waters was conducted by
compiling relevant information in some selected sites in the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao areas. Presence of marine mammals, relative
abundance, and interaction with fisheries were gathered several ways: interview surveys, designated and opportunistic boat surveys, collaboration
with trained observers aboard dolphin watching boats, examination of specimens (e.g. skull) and review of unpublished and published reports and
other forms of media. To date, a total of 25 species out of the 27 reported marine mammals reported within the Philippine waters have been
confirmed. These included 22 cetaceans, the dugong, 1 pinniped (Phoca largha), and 1 otter (Amblonyx cincereus). The larga seal was an
extralimital recording. The small clawless otter, a part-time riverine species, could also be found in the estuaries of Palawan. Among the 22
cetaceans, 18 are odontocetes, and 4 are mysticetes. Out of the 18 odontocetes, 13 are delphinids (spinners. pantropical spotted, striped, Fraser's,
Risso's, rough-toothed, and Irrawaddy dolphins, and short-finned pilot, melon-headed, pygmy killer, false killer, and killer whales), 2 kogiids, 2
ziphiids (Blainville's and Cuvier's beaked whales), and 1 Physeterid. The 4 mysticetes include minke, Bryde's, humpback and fin whales. The
spinner dolphin is the most commonly sighted species, while the Irrawaddy dolphin has the most restricted distribution. The dugong is the most
threatened marine mammal species of all. The major hotspots for cetaceans include Tanon Strait, and the Philippine, Sulu, and Bohol Seas, while
those for dugongs include the waters off Palawan, southern Mindanao and northeast Luzon. Major threats to marine mammals are incidental
mortalities, habitat loss, and pollution. This is aggravated by insufficient institutional support, the low priority from the government, and the
scarcity of basic information necessary for conservation and management.
Manatee (Trichechus manatus) Encounters and Research Vessel Effects in the Drowned Cayes, Belize, Central
America. Bilgre, Barbara A. Oceanic Society, PO Box 270, Belize City, Belize
The objectives of this study were to estimate manatee (Trichechus manatus) abundance in the Drowned Cayes of Belize, Central America and to
record their behavior in the presence of our research vessels. Between July 28, 2000 and February 22, 2001, 73 manatee surveys were conducted
on 42 days. Surveys were conducted from 8 m boats utilizing 75 hp outboard motors, and included opportunistic searches (vessel in motion) and
dedicated searching (vessel stationary and motor turned off). Manatees were encountered in 89% of the surveys. One hundred nine sightings
produced a field count of 220 manatees (mean group size = 2.02, SD = 1.53) including 10 calves and 17 yearlings. Opportunistic sightings resulted
in 47% of sightings, and dedicated searching in 41 different locations resulted in 53% of sightings. To determine potential effects of the research
vessel on manatee behavior, I analyzed encounters of 82 manatees, in groups of 3 or less, where the boat was within 50 m of the manatees. I
adhered to rigid manatee-boat protocols designed by the Government of Belize. Boat activities included motoring, drifting, poling, and tied, and
the manatee responses were swimming toward, away from, ignoring, or observing the boat. Manatees ignored the boat more than any other
response (72%). Responses to boat activity were significantly different (X2 = 20.3, 9 df, P = 0.05). Three responses (Toward, Ignore, Observe)
were more likely to occur when the boat was tied than during any other boat activity. Manatees did not differentially avoid the boat even when the
boat was motoring (X2 = 3.06, 1 df, P = 0.05). Our boat did not negatively affect manatees; in fact, a quiet, stationary boat was more likely to
attract manatees. These results demonstrate the usefulness of Belize manatee-boating legislation in regulating manatee-watching tour boats for the
protection of the manatees.
Biological Assessment and Handling of Captured Free-Ranging Manatees in Belize. Bonde, Robert1; Agurrie,
Alonso2; Powell, James2
(1) U.S. Geological Survey, Florida Caribbean Science Center, 412 NE 16th Ave., Room 250, Gainesville, FL, 32601-3701, United States
(2) Wildlife Trust
Free-ranging West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus) were captured for a radio tagging study in Southern Lagoon, Belize. Manatees were
approached by boat and a 152 m long, 6 m deep, 13 cm stretch mesh nylon net was set in open water 1-1.5 m deep. Captured individuals were then
transported a short distance to a beach for examination. Fifteen individuals were captured 35 times between November 1997 and March 2001.
Nine manatees were captured more than once. Out-of-water holding time ranged from 24 to 140 minutes with an average duration of 90 minutes.
Most animals were tagged with VHF and UHF radio tags connected to belts fitted around the tailstock and passive integrated transponder chips
were inserted to facilitate re-identification. Fat thickness measurements were recorded using ultrasound. Morphometrics, blood, urine, fecal and
tissue samples were collected and analyzed or archived. Results of urine analyses revealed a new species of diplogasterid nematode. Fecal samples
were not pathologic but did allow for identification of local vegetation types. Blood values for CBC and serum chemistry profiles indicated normal
levels comparable to manatees previously examined in Florida and Puerto Rico. Duplicate samples were collected from 6 animals and analyzed to
check for laboratory quality control. Dugongs have been prone to capture myopathy and typically display elevated serum enzymes and biological
indicators of tissue damage. Florida manatees have been documented to tolerate capture and handling activities without susceptibility to capture
stress. Variables examined to address potential affects of capture stress included the serum enzymes SGOT (range, 9.4-60.6 U/L), SCPK (10.1-287
U/L), and LDH (0-260 U/L); as well as biochemical indicators such as BUN (2.0-11.6 mg/dL), creatinine (0.76-3.0 mg/dL) and potassium (3.6-
6.42 mmol/L). Higher-than-normal elevations of serum enzymes were not detected in 12 individuals sampled 20 times. No adverse affects of
capture stress were detected post-release.
Updating the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan. Brooks, William B.1; Walker, Linda D.1
(1) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL, 32216-0958, United States
To support recovery of the endangered West Indian (Florida) manatee, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is finalizing a third revision of
the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan. The original plan was developed in 1980 and subsequently revised in 1989 and 1996. The October 2001 target
for completing this revision is based upon a renegotiated time line specified in the Save the Manatee Club et. al. v. Ballard settlement. In 1999,
the FWS established an 18-member recovery team comprised of public, private and agency stakeholders to assist in the third revision of the plan.
A draft plan was published for public comment on November 30, 2000. The most significant comment regarding the plan was that it did not
contain delisting criteria addressing the ESA Section 4(a)(1) five listing factors as required by the 1995 Grizzly Bear ruling (Fund for Animals v.
Babbit). Additionally, on February 12, 2001, the U.S. District Court found that in Defenders of Wildlife v. Babbit that the FWS did not adequately
address the 5 statutory listing factors in the Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Plan. Thus, the FWS further revised the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan
to provide additional recovery criteria that address the five listing factors. This substantial change necessitated a second public comment period.
The current revision presents criteria for reclassification to threatened as well as delisting. The criteria set benchmarks for population
demographics (survival, reproduction, and growth rate), as well as new targets that evaluate the success of conservation measures to remove
existing and long-term threats to recovery. Each target specifically relates to threats identified in the five listing factors. The most pressing threat to
manatee recovery is injuries and deaths caused by watercraft collisions (24% of all mortalities are attributable to watercraft). A long-term problem
facing manatee recovery is maintaining adequate sources of warm water for the species to survive the cold in winter
Cafio La Brea, an Endangered Species Ecosystem: A Reconsideration of Its Status as Protected Area (Sucre
State, Venezuela). Ceballos, Natalial; Miller, Daniel1; Bricefio Linares, Jos6 Manuel1; Muller, Klausl; Boher, Salvador2
(1) Fundaci6n Vuelta Larga, calle 4 transversal 41 Residencias la Barraca Piso, Caracas, D.C., 1020, Venezuela
(2) Parque Zooologico de Caricuao, Caracas, Venezuela
Caflo La Brea is located in Sucre State, Venezuela, and contains several habitats: mangrove, forested and grassy wetlands. Several endangered or
threatened species have been reported in this area, such as otter, manatee, jaguar, cunaguaro, guacamaya, baba cayman, and terecay turtle, among
others. In spite of high animal diversity, its current status is one of total absence of state wildlife management. Currently, Caflo La Brea borders
with the Guarapiche Forest Timber Reserve. However, this legal instrument cannot grant the protection level required for a rich ecosystem like
this. Our monthly periodic visits to this place have shown what is happening: a rapid process of fauna depletion and vegetation is being strongly
disturbed, by intentional fires and hunting carried out by native Amerindians and local residents. An urgent need is felt that this area be declared
under a more restricted legal instrument of protection. Several governmental (INPARQUES, PROFAUNA, MARN) and non-governmental
organizations have proposed this area be declared a Wildlife Reserve. However, this has not been accomplished. Its location, relatively distant
from populated centers and with a single marine entrance by Caflo La Brea, would allow strategic control of access and activities that are
otherwise performed unrestrained. If this can be achieved, this imperiled region will enjoy adequate protection and new opportunities will appear
for scientific research and the development of its tourism potential.
Mermaids and Mariners Management and Protection Challenges in Achieving Successful Coexistence.
Cinalli, David1; Shaw, Cameron2; Martinez, Carlos3
(1) U.S. Coast Guard, 909 SE IstAve., Miami, FL, 33131-3050, United States
(2) U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service
(3) U.S. Coast Guard
Collisions with watercraft are the leading cause of human-related mortality to the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) within the
coastal waters of the southeastern United States (Wright et al. 1995). This mortality category has been increasing steadily and accounts for
approximately 25% of all known manatee mortality from 1974-2000. This percentage has been increasing in the last five years. Recovery efforts
of the Florida manatee hinges largely on this important component of mortality. Zoning of manatee-occupied waters for reductions in boating
activities and speed is essential to safeguard the manatee population. If boating regulations being implemented by the state of Florida in each of the
13 key coastal counties are completed, enforced, and effective, manatees and human recreation could coexist indefinitely. If regulation is
unsuccessful, the Florida manatee population is likely to decline slowly toward extinction (Marmontel et al. 1997). Law enforcement agencies at
the Federal, state and local levels have recently enhanced protection efforts in response to accelerated manatee mortality rates. Analyses of these
efforts reveals a wide spectrum of results, from a marked decrease in mortality to increased mortality problems. Managers face many challenges in
dealing with this complex, highly controversial problem. These include a continued rapidly increasing human population (both resident and
transient), changes in watercraft operator demographics and watercraft performance, and escalating opposition to protection efforts. It is essential
for managers to implement improvements in manatee protection strategies to address these issues.
Fractographic Analysis of Manatee Rib Bone. Clifton, K.B.1; Mecholsky, J.J.2; Reep, R.L.1
(1) Dept. of Physiological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Box 100144 HSC, 1600 SWArcher Rd., Gainesville, FL, 32610,
(2) Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Watercraft-related mortality of the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), caused by propeller wounds or impact, accounts for 24% of
all deaths from 1976-2000, and comprises 78% of anthropogenic-related deaths. Sixty-six percent of animals killed by impact suffered broken or
luxated ribs. Reducing watercraft-related mortality is identified as a high priority in the manatee recovery plan. To date, efforts have focused
primarily on regulation of boating activities by establishing speed zones in areas where manatees and boats coexist. Creation of boat speed zones is
a highly subjective process, not based on information pertaining to the biological effects of boat strikes on manatees. In order to establish safe boat
speeds for manatee protection, an estimate of the forces required to fracture manatee bone is needed. Quantitative fracture surface analysis can be
applied to manatee bone to estimate the force needed to break ribs. These data will be instrumental in shifting the focus to a more objective
approach for establishing boat speed regulatory speed zones adequate to reduce watercraft-related mortality. Fractographic analysis was used to
calculate fracture toughness of manatee rib bone. Fracture toughness is the ability to resist fracture, measured as critical stress intensity (Klc). This
is an estimate of the amount of energy required to initiate a macrocrack that can lead to breakage. Parallelpipeds were machined from ribs from
anterior, middle, and posterior body regions, and fractured in three-point bending. Measurements of fracture surfaces were taken under light
microscopy to calculate Klc. Average toughness was 2.9 Mpa.m1/2 (+0.9 SD). In comparison, human and bovine bone ranges from 2 6 Mpa.
m1/2, indicating that manatee bone is on average less tough (i.e. fractures more easily). Preliminary data further indicate that toughness increases
caudad, which corresponds to a decrease caudad in rib mineral content reported by others.
Underwater Visual Acuity of a Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Colbert, Debborahl; Bauer,
Gordon B. 1,2; Fellner, Wendi1
(1) Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL, 34236, United States
(2) New College of Florida
Two male Florida manatees were trained on a two-choice simultaneous discrimination procedure to select between grating stimuli, black and white
striped targets. The black and white stripes were of equal area to control for brightness. One target with 1mm stripes, the standard, appeared on all
trials. The comparison targets had stripes of greater width than the standard. Subjects swam toward the targets and had to make a selection at a
divider located one meter from the targets. The comparison stimulus was the designated correct target. A free-swimming approach, as opposed to a
fixed stationing distance, was selected based on ambiguity in the literature concerning optimal distances for manatee visual acuity. A method of
constant stimuli was employed, in which a range of comparison stimuli were used from above and below threshold. Threshold, measured in
minutes of arc, was determined at the interpolated 75% correct point. One of the manatees has completed training. His threshold underwater visual
acuity from one meter under bright light conditions (greater than 1500 microEinsteins) was determined to be 23' and 50% acuity was found at 16'.
Comparative Analysis of Marine Mammal Utilization in the Southeastern Caribbean. Creswell, Joel E.1; Romero,
(1) Environmental Studies Program, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN, 55105-1899, United States
Although some recent progress has been made in better understanding marine mammal utilization in the southeastern Caribbean, no comparative
analysis has been carried out to see how such practices originated, developed, and finally impacted the marine mammal populations in that region.
We conducted field and archival studies for Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We analyzed records
of whaling, dolphin fisheries, and manatee exploitation for those countries, interviewed local fishers, and explored the remains of whaling stations
in the area. Our results show that each one of those countries developed a different pattern of marine mammal exploitation when it came to
whaling and dolphin fisheries but similar patterns regarding manatee exploitation. In Venezuela there was little whaling, all carried out by Yankee
whalers in the nineteenth century; in Trinidad and Tobago whaling was essentially an activity promoted by local elites that did not survive into this
century. Whaling in Grenada was introduced and developed by Norwegians in the 1920's. Yankee whalers did have a great influence on whaling
practices in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since the 1830's. Dolphin fisheries in Venezuela have been intense and carried out by local fishers with
some influence from Far-east fishers; this activity is restricted to accidental catches in Trinidad and Tobago and is nonexistent in Grenada. Dolphin
fisheries have been a well-organized operation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since the 1920's. Most local populations of manatees in this part
of the Caribbean were depleted during colonial times. We conclude that marine mammal utilization in these four neighboring countries developed
differently due to historical, political, social, and economic circumstances.
Site Fidelity of West Indian Manatees (Trichechus manatus) along the Atlantic Coast of the United States.
Deutsch, C.J.1,2; Reid, J.P.1; Bonde, R.K.1; Easton, D.E.1; Kochman, H.I.1; O'Shea, T.J.1
(1) U. S. Geological Survey, Florida Caribbean Science Center, 13905 NW 56th Ave., Gainesville, FL, 32653, United States
(2) Univ. of Florida, Dept. of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Gainesville, FL
West Indian manatees along the Atlantic coast exhibit several different patterns of seasonal movement, ranging from year-round residents to long-
distance migrants (median migratory distance = 280 km). We investigate the degree of consistency of individuals to movement patterns across
years, and quantify within-season and interannual fidelity to seasonal ranges. We test the hypotheses that adult males move more extensively and
exhibit lower site fidelity than adult females during the diffusely seasonal breeding period. We radio-tagged and tracked 78 manatees between the
Florida Keys and southern South Carolina using VHF and Argos satellite telemetry over a 12-year period (1986-1998). Non-parametric cluster
analysis was employed to define the spatial structure of individuals' seasonal ranges, where location clusters represent separate components of an
animal's range. Manatees were highly consistent in their seasonal movement patterns over time and showed strong fidelity to warm season and
winter ranges both within and across years. Manatee movements were not nomadic: within a season individuals usually occupied 1 or 2 core use
areas, encompassing about 90% of daily locations. Adult males had a higher daily travel rate and lower site fidelity than adult females within the
warm season, presumably because males were searching for and consorting with estrous females; there was no sex difference in these movement
parameters, however, during the winter (non-breeding season). Most manatees returned faithfully to the same seasonal ranges year after year: the
median distance between range centers across successive years was 3.4 and 4.8 km for winter and warm seasons, respectively. Familiarity with the
spatial arrangement of essential resources, travel routes, and hazards in a given locale probably enhances survival and reproductive success. The
existence of traditional migrations and of strong philopatry to specific areas have implications for the design of protected area networks and for
selection of release sites for rehabilitated manatees.
Is Fluctuating Asymmetry an Effective Bio-indicator for Manatees? Dorsey, Candicel; Schaeff, Catherine1
(1) Department of Biology, American University, Washington DC
Fluctuating asymmetry is a condition where individuals in a population exhibit small random deviations from symmetry in otherwise bilaterally
symmetrical traits. Since the degree of FA exhibited often correlates with individual survivability and/or reproductive success, FA has been used to
assess individual and population health and reproductive fitness. Marine mammals are affected by numerous human-related impacts, many of
which have become much more severe over the past few decades. For this study we assessed the impact of these increasing stresses by comparing
the level of FA exhibited by in Florida manatees, Trichechus manatus, collected over the past century. FA was assessed using six skull
measurements; three cranial and three mandibular. An ANOVA analysis of 100 randomly chosen animals indicated the presence of FA in all skull
traits and low measurement error. We therefore expanded the comparison to include 500 animals born between 1890 and 1995 to see whether the
degree of asymmetry has changed over this time period. As well, because most animals collected over the past few decades died prematurely (5-20
years of age), we also compared asymmetry in animals that died prematurely from specific causes (boat kills n=150, cold stress n=100, and the
1996 red tide episode n=200) with asymmetry in animals that were at least 25 years old at their time of death (N=30).
Aerial Survey Research to Develop a Numeric Correction Factor for Wintertime Florida Manatee (Trichechus
manatus) Counts at Power Plants. Edwards, Holly H.1; Ackerman, Bruce B.1; Reynolds, John E.2; Powell, James A.3
(1) Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 100 Ei ,il Ave. S.E., St. Petersburg, FL, 33701, United States
(2) Mote Marine Laboratory
(3) Wildlife Trust
In winter 1999/2000 and 2000/2001, an intensive study was conducted to estimate site-specific bias in manatee aerial surveys. Six manatee flight
series were flown over the Tampa Electric Company (TECO) power plant discharge canal in Tampa Bay, Florida. Flights were conducted to
estimate visibility bias under varying weather conditions. Data will be used to develop a numeric correction factor to adjust counts based on an
estimate of the percentage of manatees undercounted. To quantify bias: 1) sixty-eight flights were flown; 2) marker flags were mounted on the
tails of 15 manatees for identification from land and air; 2) land-based observers were used to compare counts from the air; 3) time/depth data
loggers were used to estimate percentage of time manatees were at the surface; 4) tandem surveys (one plane following another) were used to
compare observer counts. Results indicated that manatee counts are strongly affected by environmental conditions. Cold temperatures caused
manatees to aggregate at the power plant. Maximum counts were recorded 3-5 days following a cold front, on warm days with sunny conditions
and light winds. When weather conditions were cold, cloudy or windy, manatees spent less time surface resting and were more likely to be missed.
Daily high counts increased by up to 211% (102 to 318; -23%) between days and by up to 181% (73 to 205; ~=16%) from morning to afternoon.
Highest counts occurred in the afternoon during 68% of the surveys. Data from time/depth loggers showed that during cold weather, some
manatees remained submerged for up to 16 minutes with a very short surface interval. In the winter of 2001/2002, we will begin the third year of
our research. Accurate estimates of population size are needed to develop strategies for protecting manatees to ensure the recovery of the species.
Alternatives for Characterizing Statewide Boat-Strike Manatee Mortality Using a Geographic Information
System. Flamm, Richard Florida Marine Research Institute, St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5095 USA
Deaths of Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus) due to collisions with boats contributes to 27-32% of the annual manatee mortality. This class of
mortality is considered relatively preventable, and as such, has garnered considerable interest from scientists, managers, and the public. Since the
pattern of manatee deaths from boat strikes is spatial, we used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to explore various methods for mapping
manatee boat-strike deaths. This work involved 2 characterizations to date. The first is a fixed-grid method where a grid is draped over a map of
manatee boat-strike deaths and the total counts are added per cell. The problem with this method is that the positioning of the grid is arbitrary and
can greatly influence the result. This problem was resolved by combining the results of several fixed grid maps where the grid was positioned
randomly, the result being a contoured boat-strike characterization. The second characterization is a nearest-neighbor method based on Thiessen
polygons. Thiessen polygons are generated by drawing lines that evenly separate points, in this case boat-strike carcass recovery sites, and
continuing the lines until they intersect with anther line. The result is a map of polygons formed around the points of interest. Points clustered
together will results in many small polygons. One problem with this method is that polygons are drawn with respect to the points only, not to other
features of the landscape, such as land. This problem was solved by creating an algorithm such that Thiessen polygons could only be drawn in
manatee habitat. Future work will involve including these characterizations as part of a multivariate assessment of manatee boat-strike mortality,
manatee habitat, and human use.
Underwater Masked Thresholds and Critical Ratios of the West Indian Manatee. Gerstein, Edmundl,2; Gerstein,
Laura3; Forsythe, Steve; Blue, Joseph1
(1) Leviathan Legacy Inc., 1318 SW 14th St., Boca Raton, FL, 33486, United States
(2) Florida Atlantic University
(3) Navy Undesea Warfare Center, Newport
Underwater acoustic masked thresholds at 0.5, 1.6, 3,6,12,18.26 kHz were obtained from two test- sophisticated West Indian manatees using a
forced-choice, two alternative, paradigm and an up-down staircase psychometric method. Pure tones were presented under two different stimulus
conditions: (1) as pulsed signals, and (2) as non-pulsed signals. Under both stimulus conditions the tones were presented against a 1/3 octave
continuous white-noise masker. Three different masking intensities were used to simulate moderate ambient noise levels recorded from manatee
habitats. Masked thresholds across frequencies increased in a linear fashion with increased masking intensity. Critical ratios for both stimulus
conditions increased with higher frequencies, however, thresholds for pulsed signals were significantly lower than non-pulsed signals suggesting
some attenuation or higher order inhibitory process affected the perception of non-pulsed tones. Comparisons of critical ratios with other marine
mammals suggests manatees have acute filtering abilities for detecting pulsed tones under continuous noise conditions. While manatees do not
exhibit a rich vocal repertoire to account for acute filtering abilities, they are passive listeners which may be adapted to selectively filter out
continuous noise in favor of detecting biologically significant sounds like their pulsed 200-500 ms species-specific calls. The ecological
consequence of which could be serious with respect to the detection, recognition and habituation of the continuous noise from distant fast moving
Delayed Matching-to-Sample and Short and Long-Term Memory Abilties of West Indian Manatees. Gerstein,
Laura1; Gerstein, Edmundl'2
(1) Leviathan Legacy Inc., 1318 SW 14th St., Boca Raton, FL, 33486, United States
(2) Florida Atlantic University
A series of matching-to-sample tests were conducted to investigate the short-term memory of one West Indian manatee as well as the long-term
associative learning and memory of two West Indian manatees. The auditory short-term memory of a West Indian manatee was measured using a
delayed same-different or delayed probe matching-to-sample task. The subject was first presented with a "sample" sound, a probe was presented
following a 5-90 s delay. In a two-choice forced paradigm the manatee indicated whether the probe was same or different by selecting one of two
paddles. The presentation of same or different probes was randomized using a Gellerman series. Four classes of sample/probe pairings were
selected to investigate remembering as function of signal characteristics and delay (amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, pulse repetition,
and frequency) Short-term memory was strongest for modulating tones paired with non-modulating at 90% correct for 90 s delays. The manatee
demonstrated good acoustic discrimination and short-term memory on a par with some primates and marine mammals tested on similar tasks.
Acquisition of the sameness rule was demonstrated during presentation of novel sample and probe parings with immediate generalization at 94%
correct discrimination of 40 unique novel to novel trials. The ability to recognize acoustic signals provides a bases for temporal learning and the
remembering of acoustic events. Two test-sophisticated manatee subjects were trained to associate static targets with a set of acoustic signals and
later perform delayed matching to sample discrimination by pushing the representative target for the acoustic signal presented. The learned
associations were tested after 5 and 7 years in which time neither subject had been exposed to the stimuli. In single trial tests, both subjects
selected the correct targets (100%) Their ability to learn and remember abstract associations suggests these long-lived smooth brained creatures
have some remarkable cognitive abilities.
Evaluation of Boater Compliance in Association with Manatee Speed Zones in Two Key Florida Counties.
Gorzelany, Jay F. Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL, 34236, United States
The adverse effect of watercraft on the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) has been well-documented. It has been demonstrated that
the vast majority of adult manatees in Florida bear wounds that are representative of single or repeated collisions with powerboats. While
continued basic research is vital to the overall protection of the species, the evaluation of current recovery strategies, including the establishment
of speed-restricted zones, is also necessary in order to provide for effective species management. To this end, a series of boater compliance studies
was performed during 1995 and 1998 in order to determine the effectiveness of existing manatee speed zones in two key Florida counties
(Sarasota County and Lee County). Field surveys involved teams of boat- or land-based observers within a designated speed-restricted waterway.
Boat type, size, activity, origin, destination, and observed speed were recorded for each surveyed vessel. Multiple sites were surveyed in each
county. A total of 26,000 vessels were surveyed and evaluated. Overall boater compliance was 63% in Sarasota County and 57% in Lee County,
though results varied significantly among individual survey sites. Compliance varied significantly with vessel type and size. This was largely due
to the influence of personal watercraft, which had the lowest levels of compliance overall. Compliance did not vary significantly with time of day,
day of the week, or time of the year. Differences in compliance between survey sites was also statistically significant, and was related to variations
in local use patterns, traffic volume, vessel composition, sign placement, level of regulation, and enforcement presence. The percentage of boater
compliance may be less important than the absolute number of non-compliant boaters in a given area. In high-traffic areas, for instance, the level
of compliance may be high, but the absolute number of non-compliant boaters may still pose a significant threat to manatees.
Cytogenetic Characterization of the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) by Chromo-some
Banding Techniques. Gray, Brian1; Zori, Robert1; McGuire, Peter2; Felton, Shellyl; Bonde, Robert3
(1) University of Florida, College of Medicine, Division of Genetics, Box 100296 HSC, Gainesville, FL, 32610-0296, United States
(2) University of Florida, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
(3) U.S. Geological Survey, Florida Caribbean Science Center, Gainesville, FL
Published cytogenetic data for the order Sirenia is limited and, thus far, karyotypes produced have been restricted to conventional or solid
chromosome staining techniques. To facilitate identification of individual chromosome homologues for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus
latirostris), we have applied primary chromosome banding techniques, G- and Q-banding to metaphase chromosomes prepared from T- and B-cell
peripheral blood lymphocyte cell cultures established from six individuals (three males; three females). Following brightfield and fluorescence
microscopic analyses, a previously published modal chromosome number of 48 was confirmed for this species. Digital imaging methods were
subsequently employed and individual homologues were identified by unique G-band patterns and chromosome morphologies. A standard banded
karyotype was constructed, for both sexes, based on the G-band chromosome pattern obtained in these studies. Characterization of additional
cytogenetic features of this species by supplemental chromosome banding techniques, C-banding (constitutive heterochromatin), Ag-NOR staining
(nucleolar organizer regions), and DA/DAPI staining was also performed. Cytogenetic features, including chromosome morphology and banding
patterns, of T. manatus latirostris are described. These studies may provide a basis for more precise inter and intra specific comparisons by
Toxicology Analysis in Four Types of Tissues from Manatees in Puerto Rico. Guzman-Ramirez, Lizal; Falcon-
Matos, Limariel; Mignucci-Giannoni, Antonio1
(1) Caribbean Marine Mammal Laboratory, Universidad Metropolitana, PO Box 361715, San Juan, 00936-1715, Puerto Rico
In recent years the presence of organochlorines and heavy metals have been found to bioaccumulate in food webs. Since oceans are the ultimate
sinkholes for these persistent compounds, marine mammals have become the endpoint reservoirs for these contaminants. Numerous studies have
been conducted in other parts of the world documenting the presence of organochlorines in marine mammal tissues, but no studies have been
conducted in the Caribbean. To assess the presence of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites, polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCB) and lindane in one Caribbean marine mammal, we collected samples of skin and blubber, liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, muscle and brain of
stranded manatees (Trichechus manatus) in Puerto Rico. Of these tissues, we analyzed skin and blubber, muscle, liver and kidneys from six
animals. Concentrations found were analyzed and compared to published values for manatees in Florida and other marine mammals.
Present Status of Threats to Marine Mammals in India. Hanfee, Fahmeeda1
(1) Forestry and Biodiversity Group, Teri, Darbaril Seth Block, India Habitat Center, New Delhi, 110003, India
Though marine mammals have been declared as endangered species in Indian waters there is very little by way of conservation and protection for
these creatures. Clearly the importance that is given to other terrestrial species like Tiger, Elephant far overrules the scant attention that is being
paid to the critically endangered marine animals. Virtually, no efforts have been undertaken to sensitize the fisherfolk communities and others who
are directly associated or who encounter them frequently. In general not much attention has been given to this group of animals in India, though
there is an increasing attention being paid world over to protect and conserve the marine mammals. They are considered the most vulnerable group
of sea animals worldwide. A few premier national organizations like Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute [CMFRI] have some information
on stranding of whales and capture of Dolphins and Dugongs along the Indian coasts dating back to 1980's, although this is incoherent and scanty.
Though these early reports reveal that incidental catches have increased greatly and also warned about the possible decline in the Dugong
population in 1975 it also reports an average capture figure of 40 per year. Subsequently a report from CMFRI mentioned that about 250 Dugongs
were caught and butchered between April 1983 to August 1984, an average of 4 per week. The Whales, Dugongs and Dolphins suffer mortality
along the Indian coast due to various reasons i.e., 1. Inadvertent killing by the fishing nets 2. Accidental death due to straying into the shallow
waters and other natural causes 3. Wanton killing by the fishermen by deploying the gillnets in the area where the marine mammals frequent
during certain seasons. It is to be noted with grave concern that very little conservation measures were taken in the 70s and 80s. The data however
is sketchy and old which has little relevance today. There is no latest information on Whales, Dolphins and Dugongs except for a few scattered
notes here and there by interested scientists. In Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh coast of India) as many as 20 incidence of mammal landings by the drift
gillnet in the last 2 years have been reported. There is scanty data available on the stray landings of these species along the Indian coast and no
reliable information available on the areas where they occur in good frequency. This presentation highlights the various threats and urgent need
for an enhanced management and conservation program for marine mammals in India.
Dugong (Dugong dugon) Abundance in Trang Province along the Andaman Coast of Thailand. Hines, Ellen1;
Adulyanukosol, Kanjana2; Duffus, Dave3
(1) Dept. of Geography and Human Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA,
94132, United States
(2) Phuket Marine Biological Center, Dept. of Fisheries, Phuket, Thailand
(3) Whale & Dugong Research Lab, University of Victoria
In 2000 and 2001, dugong abundance was investigated using aerial surveys along the Andaman coast of Thailand. The largest population group
was found in Trang province, as are the largest seagrass beds on the west coast of Thailand. A microlite, a light, single engine plane was used to
fly in sampling blocks over seagrass beds. The total area surveyed was 245.5 km2, and the length of transects totaled 387.7 km. The microlite flew
at an average height of 152 meters, and an average speed of 46.5 knots. Visibility from the microlite was approximately 200 meters on each side.
All surveys were done during rising tides as the dugongs came to the seagrass beds to feed. The total number of sightings during 22 days of
surveys was 264, out of which 31.5% were single dugongs. The largest group seen in 2000 was 30, and in 2001, 53. The maximum number of
calves seen in one day was 13. Statistical analysis of survey data indicates that the best minimum estimate of population abundance is 123 animals
(C.V. = 70.76%). Average density for both years is 0.5148/100 km2 (C.V. = 41.91%). Higher numbers of dugong sightings and cluster sizes
correspond with higher tides until the highest spring tide when water turbidity impeded sightings. Trang province is a primary feeding site for
dugongs along this coast, and probably has the largest population group of dugongs remaining in Southeast Asia. The transect methodology
created should be continued to increase the validity of knowledge about the number of dugongs in these areas. While a statistically powerful trend
estimate is not possible with this small a population and the necessary intervals between surveys, more assessments are still needed to provide a
complete picture of dugong habitat and animal distribution.
Fine Scale Habitat Use and Movement Patterns of Dugongs Determined from Archival GPS Tags. Holley,
Davel,2; Gales, Nickl,2,3; Lavery, Paul2
(1) Department of Conservation and Land Management, Locked Bag 104, Bentley, Western Australia, 6983, Australia
(2) Edith Cowan University
(3) Australian Antarctic Division
The use of GPS for tracking dugongs is a new technique that increases our ability to determine fine scale spatial and temporal usage in order to
adequately manage and conserve dugongs and seagrass habitat in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Dugongs were caught by a rodeo technique with
assistance from a local indigenous community. Using a harness and tether attachment system, five Lotek GPS tags were deployed for a period of
six weeks during August- October 2000. The tags were later located through telemetry and retrieved through the development and use of a novel
remote release mechanism that released the tag and harness from the dugong without the need for re-capture. During the deployment period over
4500 fixes were obtained and with GPS now giving sub -10m accuracy this facilitated ground truthing of locations to determine seagrass and
benthic composition. Locations were downloaded into Arcview GIS and plotted. Using available GIS of bathymetric and seagrass cover these
positions are shown relative to these factors. A selection of 30 fixes were assessed by using underwater videography to more accurately assess
benthos and seagrass cover and composition. Combined with later deployments, the outcomes are a series of maps showing dugong positions
within Shark Bay in relation to habitat. These maps and the determination of temporal and spatial use of favoured seagrass species can be used as a
management tool to aid in decision making in relation to activities such as aquaculture that may have an adverse impact upon dugongs and habitat
within Shark Bay. The further development of combining GPS with more established satellite telemetry is further enhancing the utility of this
technology for use in many multi-scaled sirenian studies.
Hunting Threats and Feeding Areas: An Approach to the Conservation of the Amazonian Manatee
(Trichechus inunguis) in Colombia. Kendall, Sanrita1; Orozco, Dianal; Fuentes, Libial; Padilla, Adrianal
(1) Fundaci6n Omacha, A.A.20089, Bogotd, Cundinamarca, D.E., Colombia
In 1998 the Omacha Foundation began a research and education program with the aim of establishing strategies for the conservation of the
Amazonian manatee, Trichechus inunguis, in the area of Puerto Narifio, Colombia. During 2000 we completed monthly surveys of feeding areas
by identifying stalks of floating pasture eaten by manatees. In addition, over 80 in-depth interviews with manatee hunters and specialists were
carried out in 2000-2001. About half those interviewed attended workshops to discuss findings and conservation problems. Surveys identified 167
manatee feeding areas through the year. Feeding areas were reported for the lakes from February to August, during high water, and for Amazon
river banks for all months except June. The cutting of pasture and placing of trot lines by fishermen did not appear to deter manatees from feeding;
however, manatees did not feed on patches near beaches where rice was being grown during low water, despite the scarcity of pasture at this time.
Data for more than 90 hunting events showed that most captures were made by pirarucfi (Arapaima gigas) fishermen using harpoons (73.5%),
although traps were also used (18.8%) and young manatees were occasionally caught in nets (7.7%). Most individuals (78%) were hunted when
the Amazon waters were rising or falling. Information from interviews and feeding area surveys was combined to clarify distribution and feeding
ecology, with the identification of Amazon islands as an important habitat for manatees. The involvement of local people in the process allowed
extensive debate on conservation strategies in four communities, with recommendations that included a campaign to diffuse new legislation and
penalties for manatee hunting in Colombia, Brazil and Peru as well as information on the low reproductive rate of manatees. Danger spots and
regular hunters were identified by the communities, leading to more intensive conservation efforts in specific areas.
Do You See What I See? Use of Tandem Aerial Surveys to Estimate Manatee Visibility Biases. Koelsch,
Jessical,2; Ackerman, Bruce3
(1) The Ocean Conservancy, 449 CentralAve. #200, St. Petersburg, FL, 33701, United States
(2) Mote Marine Laboratory
(3) Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Aerial surveys are an important tool for assessing relative abundance and distribution of Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris).
However, an unknown number of manatees are missed because of visibility biases. To quantify these biases, we conducted tandem aerial surveys
in Sarasota County, Florida. This was the first study conducted to estimate the error in standard manatee counting procedures by using tandem
counts. Manatees observed by two experienced aerial survey teams, 20-60 minutes apart, were compared to determine how many were seen by
both teams or missed by either team. Between August 1998 and November 1999, teams conducted 17 pairs of tandem aerial surveys, during the
warm season (April December). Team I, the more experienced team in this study area, counted more manatees (Team I: mean = 70.8, Team II:
mean = 59.8 manatees/flight; p=0.003). A comparison of the mapped position of the groups seen indicated that the two teams sometimes saw
different groups and counted different numbers of manatees within groups. Team I observed 78% of the groups and 82% of the manatees that were
observed by both teams combined. Team II observed 64% of the groups and 78% of the manatees. Smaller groups were more likely to be missed
by either observer. Using mark-recapture methods to estimate the number of unobserved groups, Team I alone observed 64% of the groups
estimated to be present. These results suggest a site-specific average correction factor of 1.57 for a single team conducting manatee aerial surveys
in Sarasota Bay. This correction factor should not be applied universally to manatee aerial surveys in other environments without further research.
Distribution and Foraging Ecology of Antillean Manatees (Trichechus manatus) in the Drowned Cays Area of
Belize, Central America. LaCommare, Katherine S.1; Sullivan, Caryn Self2; Brault, Solange1
(1) Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA, 02191, United States
(2) Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Texas A & M University
The Drowned Cays in Belize, Central America harbor an important population of Antillean manatees (Morales-Vela 2000, Auil 1998, O'Shea and
Salisbury 1991). This study has three principal objectives. 1) Determine the distribution and seasonal distribution of manatees within the study
area. 2) Determine which grassbeds in the study area are important feeding areas. 3) Compare the community structure of grassbeds where
manatees feed to grassbeds where they do not feed. Utilizing point transect methodology, we regularly surveyed, by boat, 45 points that were
distributed evenly throughout the study area. We conducted the surveys during the winter of 2000, and the winter and summer 2001. During the
surveys, each point was approached with the engine off; upon reaching the point the area was scanned for twenty minutes. The number of
manatees and their behavior was recorded. During the surveys and along travel routes between points, all manatees encountered that were feeding
were recorded. This information will be used to map feeding areas. In order to compare community structure of grazed versus ungrazed beds, a
subset of the survey points were chosen to conduct intensive community sampling. We measured percent of bottom covered with seagrass, relative
abundance, biomass, shoot density, leaf area index of Thalassia testudinum and productivity of T. testudinum. Preliminary results indicate that
manatees utilize the northern portion of the study area more heavily than the southern portion of the study area. Manatees feed in certain grassbeds
much more frequently than others. Grassbeds grazed by manatees had a lower percent cover, lower density, but a greater mean blade height than
grassbeds not grazed by manatees. We will test for differences in productivity between grazed and ungrazed beds, and characterize the
environmental correlates of areas with different manatee visitation/utilization rates.
Evaluation of the Twenty-Year West Indian Manatee Project of the National Environmental Authority of the
Ministry of the Environment in Brazil. Lima, Regis Pintol; Luna, Fabia de Oliveiral; Marcondes, Milton Cesar 2; Castro,
Denise De Freitas2; Alvite, Carolina Matosinho2
(1) Centro Mamiferos Aqu6ticos/Ibama, Estrada do forte Orange S/N CP 01, Itamaracd, Pernambuco, 53.900-000, Brazil
(2) Fundagdo Mamiferos Aqudticos
The West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) is the aquatic mammal most endangered in Brazil. Its historical distribution was since 2023'S to
04025'N. In 1980, the West Indian Manatee Project was created by Brazilian government to act towards the protection of the species. This paper
will approach strategies developed throughout these 20 years for the diagnosis of the species' status, the rescue of calves, their rehabilitation and
reintroduction, and conservationist campaigns. The species' status was determined through a research in the area of its historical occurrence (5,000
km), doing interviews with population of the coast. The great number of run aground newborn calves has triggered the development of rescuing
and rehabilitation methods. A program of reintroduction of these animals with radio-telemetry monitoring was established. It was verified that the
species is extinct in some states, presenting discontinuous distribution. The size of population is 500 animals and it still suffers hunting threats in
North coast and damages to the habitat in Northeast, thus being classified in the Action Plan (IBAMA-National Environmental Authority, 1997) as
critically endangered. The survey subsidized the creation of 3 federal environment protection areas spread 742,000 ha. 24 calves have been
rescued alive, since 1989, with 58% survival rate. The first reintroduction occurred in 1994. Since then, 7 animals have been reintroduced, and 4
are being monitored daily. 4 animals were born in captivity, with one rare case of twins. We may conclude then, that Project has generated
important information to classification the species and has developed strategy for its conservation, which has involved the population not only in
the diminishment of the intentional captures, the rescue, and reintroduction of calves, but also in the awareness of the importance of the species, no
longer as a direct source of food, but as a generator of jobs in the Project activities and in ecotourism.
Serologic Evidence of Leptospirosis in Florida Manatees. Lounsbury, Valerie J.1; Geraci, Joseph R.1,2; Yates, Nathan
S.1; Arnold, Jill1
(1) National Aquarium in Baltimore, Biological Programs, Pier 3, 501 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202-3194, United States
(2) University of Maryland School of Medicine, Comparative Medicine Program
A serologic survey of archived Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) sera was conducted from 1996 to 2000 to identify pathogens to
which this population may be exposed. The test panel included a range of infectious agents in domestic and wild mammals in the United States. As
part of the study, 142 sera collected from 1979 to 1996 from free-ranging, rescued, and captive manatees were tested for up to 13 serovars of
Leptospira interrogans using the microscopic agglutination test. Leptospirosis is a common zoonosis affecting mammals worldwide. Related data
were compiled on animal origin, sex, age, health and history, and sample collection dates. Thirty-six of 142 (25.4%) samples were positive
(>1:100) for one or more serovars. Positive results were obtained for nine of the 13 serovars tested; the most common were bratislava (22/142),
autumnalis (16/136), and australis (9/136). When correlated with case histories, results indicate that leptospiral infections may be particularly
common in the Florida west coast manatee population. The data show a positive relationship between seroreactivity and age, higher prevalence of
infections after 1990, evidence that titers drop within a few months, and little evidence of association with clinical disease. These results suggest
that Florida manatees may serve as maintenance hosts for one or more serovars. In other species, maintenance host leptospiral infections are often
associated with generally mild illness and high rates of reproductive failure. Further studies are required to determine current patterns of infection
in manatees; characterize the serovars involved; identify possible sources of exposure; and examine potential impacts on health particularly any
relationship to the high rate of perinatal mortality in this population. Manatee salvage and rehabilitation program managers should evaluate current
operational, quarantine, and release protocols to minimize risks of disease transmission to humans as well as to captive and wild manatee
Capture and Utilization of the Amazonian Manatee (Trichechus inunguis) in the State of Amazonas, Brazil.
Luna, Fabia de Oliveira ; Lima, Regis Pinto ; Castro, Denise De Freitas 2; Vianna, Juliana De Abreu3
(1) Centro Mamiferos Aqu6ticos/Ibama, Rua: Arnaud de Holanda, 62/201, Recife, Pernambuco, 51.021-170, Brazil
(2) Fundagdo Mamiferos Aqu6ticos
(3) Universidade Cat6lica de Minas Gerais
The Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) lives in the Amazonian basin. It is classified as vulnerable by IUCN (2000). This species has been
extremely hunted in Brazil since the colonization, and is still so. The understanding of the traditional customs of the river bank dwellers regarding
the manatees subsides the creation of conservationist measures for the species. Between May and September/2000, the Aquatic Mammals Center
and the Aquatic Mammals Foundation have conducted an extensive survey on the capture and destination of the Amazonian manatees. For that
purpose, 352 interviews were held with the river bank dwellers, preferably hunters, in 236 places and 6,400 km of the main rivers in Amazon state.
Hunting in the region is intensive. 33% of the interviewees have already hunted the animal and 34% have helped in the hunting. The manatees
were hunted with spear in 97% of cases and were choked to death by introducing wood in their nostrils. 65% of those who have already hunted
the animal still do. The capture technique is difficult, requires patience and is passed on from father to son. The capture is exclusively for
consumption in 60% of the cases and in 40% for consumption and selling. 90% of the interviewees have already consumed manatee meat in
several formats: sausages, mixira (meat conserved in fat). Although parts of the animal are used as medicine, folklore and utensils, its capture for
this purpose has not been registered. Most of the interviewees (97%) knew that the animal is protected by law. Concluding that future works for
the conservationist of the species need to aim at diminishing the intentional capture, which is fundamental in order to prevent the species from
reaching critically endangered status in the country as has the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) because of its intense hunting on the
Shark Control Records Hindcast Dramatic Decline in the Dugong on the Urban Coast of Queensland. Marsh,
Helenel; De'ath, Glenn1; Gribble, Neil2; Lane, Baden3
(1) School of Tropical Environment Studies and Geography, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, 4811, Australia
(2) Northern Fisheries Centre, Cairns, Australia
(3) Queensland Shark Control Program, Mineral House, Brisbane
The dugong (Dugong dugon) is listed as vulnerable to extinction by IUCN the World Conservation Union. This evaluation is essentially based on
anecdotal information from 37 countries and territories because of the difficulty in detecting trends in population size in the dugong's turbid coastal
habitat. We used records from a government shark control program and log-linear models to hindcast changes in dugong numbers over 38 years
along a 10 latitude stretch of the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The shark control program used standard nets at up to a total of 47
beaches in 8 localities. Dugong by-catch was recorded as a condition of the netting contracts. For a balanced data set of records from 6 localities,
the overall capture rate declined at an average of 8.7% per year [95% CI = (7.1, 10.6)]. For the full data set from 8 localities, the overall capture
rate declined at 8.2% per year (6.8, 9.7), only marginally lower than for the balanced data set. The estimated decline in shark net by-catch of
dugongs was used to estimate the decline in dugong numbers from all causes averaged over the areas where nets were deployed. This hindcasting
suggests that dugong numbers have declined to about 3 percent of 1960s levels, if dugongs have not learned to avoid the nets or been alienated
from the beaches where the nets have been deployed by increased human use.
Training of Medical Behaviors in an Orphan Manatee to Be Re-introduced into Wild in Puerto Rico. Martinez-
Diaz, Kiaril; Perez-Lewis, Miriam1; Quijano-Rossy, Adriana1; Valentin-Narvaez, Jose A.1; Mignucci-Giannoni,
Antonio A. Caribbean Marine Mammal Laboratory, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan 00936-1715, Puerto Rico
Training of medical behavior are well known to facilitate husbandry and physiological assessment of captive marine mammals by caretakers and
veterinarians, making it less stressful for the animals. Only recently, this training method has been used in manatees, and is at present being
considered for animals to be released to the wild after rehabilitation. To prepare for the re-introduction of a male Antillean manatee in Puerto Rico,
the animal was trained to perform six different behaviors: come to clicker, go to station (move the animal from one trainer to another), station (to
control the animal and give commands), head show (to examine eyes, mouth and nostrils), roll-over (to check on the individuals general condition,
examine its ventrum, directly collect fecal sample, take heartbeat and morphometrics), and pec-show (to collect blood samples). A dog clicker was
used as secondary reinforcement and monkey chow (Purina biscuits) were used as primary reinforcement. It took from one to three weeks to teach
each behavior. Two trainers and a judge were used in daily one-hour training sessions. Each session consisted of a teaching section, a testing
section and a refinement section. Refining the behaviors took at times about a month. The rate of mistake in doing a behavior was relatively low,
although compared to dolphins, for example, reaction to carry out a behavior was low, although ultimately was carried out. This training will
ultimately benefit the animal once released and will enhance caretakers and veterinarians post-release monitoring of rehabilitated and re-
introduced marine mammals.
Manatee Behavioral Responses to Vessel Approaches. Nowacek, Stephanie M.1,2; Wells, Randall S.1,2; Nowacek,
Douglas P.1; Owen, Edward C.G.1; Speakman, Todd R.1,2; Flamm, Richard O.3
(1) Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL, 34236, United States
(2) ( hi...,.. Zoological Society
(3) FWC Florida Marine Research Institute
Watercraft continue to be a serious source of mortality and injury for Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris), accounting for about 25%
of manatee deaths each year, and they can affect manatee distributions. In spite of the importance of watercraft interactions, few systematic
observations of manatee responses to approaching boats have been reported. Using a remotely operated video recording system suspended from a
tethered, helium-filled aerostat, we conducted focal animal observations of 30 manatees during opportunistic boat approaches and experimental
controlled approaches. The overhead video system allowed us to see both surface and subsurface behaviors thus affording us the opportunity to
determine whether manatees respond to approaching vessels. To do this, we compared changes in behaviors (swimming speed, heading, inter-
animal distance, and distance to the channel) during 170 boat approaches as compared to control periods (no boats present). Significantly more
changes in swimming speed and distance to the deeper water (channel) were found during boat approach segments than during control segments.
Manatees increased swimming speed and moved from shallows towards channels. These responses were oftentimes initiated when the range to the
approaching vessel was 25 to 50 m, which is likely to be greater than the distance at which manatees could visually detect targets. After
determining that manatees do in fact respond to approaching vessels, we examined which boat and/or habitat parameters affect whether a change
in behavior occurred. Movement towards the channel occurred during all types of approaches. Swimming speed was significantly affected by
individual, approaching boat habitat and distance, and manatee habitat. Current efforts are extending this research to relate manatee behavioral
responses to vessels to received levels of sound via a digital data logger tag. Knowledge of factors leading to manatee responses as boats approach
is crucial to mitigating this source of mortality and serious injury.
Manatee Distribution in Relation to Some Habitat Features within an Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus
manatus) Sanctuary in Mexico. Olivera, L.D.1; Mellink, E.1
(1) Centro de In,. ,ig. i Cientifica y Educacion Superior de Ensenada, CICESE, PO Box 434844, San Diego, CA 92143, USA
The study of habitat features associated with manatee distribution and abundance has not been well studied, specially outside Florida. This is an
important issue for research and management plans of manatees and for the design of protected areas for this endangered mammals. We conducted
a study in Bahia de Chetumal, an state manatee sanctuary in Southeastern Mexico, to explore associations between spatial location and abundance
of manatees and some habitat features reported as important for this species. We conducted 17 manatee aerial surveys following straight transects
parallel to the coast covering mostly areas less than 4 m deep. Observations were bounded to 400 m to each side of the plane. Sampling of habitat
features were based on 400 X 500 m units, located along the strips covered by flights. Fix characteristics were measured directly from topographic
charts and digital images of the study area, and from results of a bathymetric survey conducted at the same time of this study. In the overall study
manatees occupied 35% of the units, most of them in just one occasion (distribution of occurrence per unit fitted well a negative binomial
function). We found significant Spearman correlations with depth, cover of aquatic vegetation and distance to main fresh water sources. Other
features like presence of physical barriers to wave action were independent of manatees. Manatees were located mainly near of freshwater sources
and in waters between 2.5 and 4 m, specially where bathymetric perfils drop from shallow to more deep waters. Our study shows that growing of
aquatic vegetation is poor in this bay and is limited only to a small portion of the area, we suggest to include this issue in the management plan of
A Regional Manatee Recovery Plan for the Alvarado Lagoon System, Veracruz, Mexico. Ortega-Argueta,
Alejandrol; Portilla-Ochoa, Enrique2; Keith, Edward O.3
(1) Institute of Ecology, A.C., Km 2.5 Carretera ,i,'nu.; o, a Coatepec 351, Congregacion El Haya, Xalapa, Veracruz, 91070, Mexico
(2) Institute of Biological Research, University of Veracruz, Xalapa, Veracruz
(3) Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale FL, USA
The historical range of the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) extended along the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico, especially the
mouths of the principal rivers. The decline in manatees in this region has been due to hunting and destruction of breeding habitat. Studies in the
mid-1980's reported the disappearance of the manatee from the Alvarado Lagoon in Veracruz State, Mexico. Nevertheless, recent reports from the
indigenous people, and the incidental capture of three manatee calves during 1998, have confirmed their reappearance in this area. A recent study
assessing manatee distribution in the Alvarado Lagoon System (ALS) found that they ranged over a larger area than previously recorded. Poaching
continues due to tradition, a lack of awareness of their legal protection, and insufficient vigilance from the authorities. Our group began studies in
1998, selecting the manatee as a representative species for the natural resource conservation projects to be carried out in the ALS. We are
preparing a manatee recovery plan for the ALS that describes the actions needed to ensure manatee conservation, and identifies those groups and
organizations that could facilitate these actions. The specific objectives of this plan are: (1) to continue current studies of the status of the manatee
population in the ALS, (2) the assessment of critical habitat areas in the ALS, (3) the identification of priority actions needed to ensure the
recovery of the Antillean manatee, (4) to expand the educational program in the local communities to ensure the conservation of the Antillean
manatee, and (5) to improve the legal strategies for manatee and habitat protection. Because of its endangered status in Mexico the recovery of the
Antillean manatee has a high priority.
LMRIS: The Living Marine Resources Information System. Petitpas, Linda S.1; Norris, Thomas2; Loftus, Christine2;
Clarke, Janet2; Gregg, Jim1; Lynch, Jim2; David, Clark1
(1) Spawar System Center (SSC), 53560 Hull St., San Diego, CA, 92152-5001, United States
(2) Science Applications International Corporation
LMRIS is an information and mapping system being developed to provide geographic information about occurrence, population estimates, and the
natural history of marine mammals and sea turtles. The main purpose of LMRIS is to provide information about when, where, and estimates of
how many animals occur in an area so that the U.S. Navy can plan and conduct their activities with minimal environmental impact. LMRIS
currently includes data for the central and eastern North Pacific (CENPAC), the Western North Atlantic (WNATL), the Gulf of Mexico (GOM),
and the Caribbean Sea. In general, data sources are restricted to peer-reviewed publications, U.S. government agency reports (e.g. NOAA Fisheries
reports) and government contract reports. Presently, LMRIS contains information for all (49) species of cetaceans, sea otters (Enhydra lutris),
manatees (Trichechus manatus) and all federally protected pinnipeds (9 species) and sea turtles (7 species). In the CENPAC, cetacean density
estimates were derived from line-transect marine mammal survey data that were analyzed (by NOAA Fisheries La Jolla, CA) specifically for
LMRIS using 5 x 5 degree sub-strata (blocks). With this information, LMRIS will provide the capability to sum estimates for multiple species
within a block, or to pool estimates across multiple blocks for a single species. In the WNATL, GOM and Caribbean Sea, 10 x 10 minute grid
resolution is available for displaying relative occurrence data where available. For the WNATL, cetacean densities are displayed geographically
for the entire study region (i.e. strata or sub-strata) for which the estimate was made. Presently, access to LMRIS is restricted to the Navy, however
in 2002 it will be turned over to the Navy's Oceanographic and Atmospheric Master Library (OAML) for general use. Future plans include a
collaborative effort (with NOAA Fisheries La Jolla, CA) to develop and integrate a predictive model of cetacean distribution and abundance based
on oceanographic data. [work supported by CNO-N45G]
Interpretation of Life History Events of the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) Recorded in
Growth-Layer-Groups. Pitchford, Meghan E. 1,2; Rommel, Sentiel A.1
(1) Florida Marine Research Institute, Marine Mammal F ,i,!. .i Laboratory, 3700 54th Ave South, Saint Petersburg, FL, 33711,
(2) University of California, Santa Cruz
For some mammalian species, life history information is recorded in the growth patterns of hard tissues. Variations in annual growth may be
indicated by the spacing of growth-layer-groups (GLGs). Periods of above or below average growth can reflect biological and environmental
events such as the onset of sexual maturity, pregnancy/lactation, injury, and periods of low food abundance. Currently, GLGs in the earbone of the
Florida manatee are used only to determine absolute ages. To test the feasibility of collecting additional life history information of manatees from
GLG spacing, we examined earbones from manatees with well-documented histories. Relative spacing between GLGs was consistent around the
entire section of earbone, indicating that a set of measurements can be obtained along any single radius. Documentation for each known manatee
included information such as behavior, calving intervals, and wound acquisition. The timing of events from an individual's life history was
compared to the timing of interannual variations in growth observed in the measurements of GLGs. Graphs of annual growth rate, derived from the
GLG spacing, showed distinct variations throughout the individuals' lives. Results indicated that: (1) a consistent and relatively large amount of
growth was observed during the first three years for all individuals examined, (2) all individuals had a distinct change in growth rate between years
3 and 5, consistent with the documented timing of sexually maturity and field observations of the manatees examined for this study, and (3) after
age 5, each manatee had intervals of inconsistent growth which may reflect individual life history events. Thus, GLG spacing could be a useful
method for obtaining life history information of manatees. Growth-layer intervals could be used for both species assessment by examining long-
term trends in age of sexual maturity, and for individual assessment by identifying short-term biological and environmental events.
Characterizing Watercraft from Watercraft-Induced Mortality in Florida Manatees. Pitchford, Thomas D.1;
Pitchford, Meghan E.1; Rommel, Sentiel A.1
(1) Florida Marine Research Institute, Marine Mammal Fa.ii. 1.-,.' Laboratory, St. Petersburg, FL 33711, USA
In the past 10 years, nearly 600 Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) have been killed by watercraft collisions. Until recently,
formalized necropsies did not routinely attempt to characterize the watercraft properties from wounds. Our research focuses on methods of wound
examination and wound description which are used to suggest: 1) properties and features of the propeller such as diameter, pitch, and rotation; 2)
features of the hull or other parts of the vessel that may indicate vessel type; 3) orientation and direction of travel of the vessel relative to the
manatee; and 4) posture and behavior of the animal at the moment of collision. Watercraft can inflict both sharp- and blunt-force trauma to
manatees. Sharp-force trauma generally includes injuries from propeller blades and skegs while blunt-force trauma includes injuries from hulls,
keels, and rudders. Propeller wounds, generally in a series, may vary in appearance depending on depth of penetration. A series may contain linear,
crescent, and/or sigmoid wounds. Measurements of the length, depth, and distance between propeller wounds help estimate propeller diameter and
pitch. The angle of each element of the wound pattern compared to the wound axis indicates rotation of the propeller. Individual, linear wounds are
considered to be from skegs, keels, rudders, or other non-rotating features of the vessel; these lesions are generally superficial and are typically
accompanied by deep tissue trauma. These methods for wound analysis will significantly improve the characterization of watercraft responsible
for manatee deaths.
Biology and Movements of Manatees in Southern Lagoon, Belize. Powell, James A.1; Bonde, Robert2; Aguirre, A.
Alonsol; Koontz, Charles1; Gough, Meshal; Auil, Nicole3
(1) Wildlife Trust, 204 37th Ave N. #348, St. Petersburg, FL, 33704, United States
(2) USGS Sirenia Project
(3) Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority
Although relatively little information is known about manatees (Trichechus manatus) outside of Florida, studies in other regions offer
opportunities to better understand the behavioral ecology and life history of manatees where they are less affected by anthropogenic factors and
cold weather. Since 1997, we have studied manatees in Southern Lagoon, Belize. Southern Lagoon is an enclosed estuary approximately 37 km2 in
size with a single outlet to the sea. Eleven males and four females were captured and released. Twelve were fitted with either VHF or satellite
radio tags. Two calves and one juvenile manatee were not tagged with radio tags. All individuals were marked with PIT tags and by taking a skin
sample from the tail that also was used for genetic analyses. Most of the tagged manatees were recaptured biannually to replace the tags or
batteries. At each capture and recapture event, health assessments were conducted based on clinical exams, ultrasonic fat measurements,
hematology and blood chemistry, and urine and fecal analyses. Morphometric data were taken and reproductive condition observed. Data were
also collected in Southern Lagoon on seagrasses and environmental parameters such as salinity, water turbidity and temperature. Aerial surveys by
helicopter were conducted twice a year to monitor population numbers. The tagged females and some males stayed in the Southern Lagoon area,
whereas some males roamed the coast. The calving interval for the three females was longer than expected relative to Florida manatees.
Differences in movement patterns among males, and between males and females, pose interesting questions regarding reproductive strategies.
Extended calving intervals during periods of possible nutritional stress may suggest that environmental changes or density dependent factors may
affect reproduction. The health assessments complemented the tracking studies and those results will be presented in another paper.
Evaluation of Manatee Foraging Ecology by Stable Isotope Analysis. Reich, Kimberly J.1; Worthy, Graham A.J.1
(1) PEBL, TAMUG, PO Box 1675, Galveston, TX; 1205 NW 35th Ave., Gainesville, FL, 32609, United States
Trichechus manatus is the only Sirenian, other than the West African manatee, to utilize both fresh and salt water as habitat, feeding primarily on
aquatic vegetation, including seagrasses, and some species of exotic plants. They have also been known to feed on terrestrial grasses and
overhanging vegetation. Objectives of the present study were to: (1) Evaluate long-term foraging patterns of free-ranging individual manatees by
examining samples of skin collected from dead animals, (2) Analyze vegetation commonly consumed by manatees from freshwater, estuarine and
marine environments for stable isotope content, and (3) Compare geographic differences in foraging habits by analyzing samples representing four
geographic regions of the state of Florida. Manatee samples (n=26) were obtained from dead free-ranging manatees. Tissue samples were
identified by the region from which they were collected and micro-samples, taken from three tissue layers, were analyzed for carbon and nitrogen
isotopes. Samples of 28 different plant species consumed by manatees were opportunistically collected from five locations in Florida where
manatee foraging has been observed. When the A 15N and A 13C values of the vegetation and tissue samples were compared, there was a distinct
separation of plant types and manatee tissue in geographic regions. A 15N and A 13C values in the tissue suggest that seagrasses represent a greater
percentage (-60%) of the diet of T. manatus on the east coast with freshwater vegetation being a relatively minor component of the diet. Data from
the west coast samples indicate an increased consumption of freshwater species ( 45".. of diet). These data suggest that manatees may be
employing different foraging strategies in different regions.
Radio Tracking Manatees to Assess the Impact of Hydrologic Changes in Southwest Florida. Reid, Jim1; Easton,
Deanl; Butler, Susan1; Lefebvre, Lynn U.S. Geological Survey, Sirenia Project, Gainesville, FL 32601, USA
We are conducting a multi-year project to develop ecological models necessary to understand and predict the effects of hydrologic restoration on
manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) in Southwest Florida. As part of this effort, we initiated a radio tracking study in June 2000 to determine
manatee movement patterns and habitat use prior to hydrologic alterations. We hypothesize that manatee distribution and movements will be
influenced by changes in water flow patterns, particularly in the Ten Thousand Islands region downstream from the Southern Golden Gate Estates
and Faka Union Canal. Twelve manatees have been tagged and tracked using satellite-monitored Argos tags from June 2000 June 2001. Weekly
movement patterns suggest a preference for foraging in marine areas with brief trips to inland creeks and canals, which provide sources of fresh
water. During the winter months, one adult female migrated from the Pavilion Key/Chatham River area south to Whitewater Bay, where she spent
several months before returning to her previous warm season range. A data-logging GPS tag, which collects locational data at 15-minute intervals,
was deployed on 3 manatees for two-week periods during 2000 and 2001. These data will allow us to determine fine-scale habitat use and provide
accurate information on travel paths.
A Comparative Anatomical Study of the Larynx in Aquatic Mammals and Proposed Mechanisms of
Pneumatic Sound Production and Transference to Water. Reidenberg, Joy S.1; Laitman, Jeffrey T.1
(1) Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Box 1007, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA
Sound production in aquatic mammals is poorly understood. In particular, there is little information on how their pneumatically generated sounds
are transferred to water. This project explores the anatomy and possible mechanisms of sound generating and transferring structures in 25
terrestrial and 25 aquatic genera. Postmortem cetacean, pinniped, and sirenian specimens were obtained from United States strandings. Results
show that the larynx of non-cetacean aquatic mammals appears similar to that of land mammals, which use a pneumatic system for sound
generation based mostly upon vocal fold vibration. Vocalizations may be transferred to water via laryngeal vibrations directly impinging upon the
overlying throat tissues, such as a fat pad found in manatees. Mysticete vocal folds are re-oriented parallel to airflow and remain separated along
most of their length. The folds fuse caudally, forming a U-shape that may regulate airflow into a ventral sac. Fold vibrations may transfer to
attached sac walls, then to overlying throat tissues, and subsequently to water. The corniculate cartilages have large flaps that may also vibrate to
generate sound. Odontocete vocal folds are also re-oriented parallel to airflow, but unlike mysticetes folds, fuse rostrally in the midline. While
echolocation clicks are generated nasally, the source of whistles and other communication sounds is unclear. One possibility is vibration of the
midline vocal fold. These vibrations may transfer epicranially through tight coupling of the larynx to the skull and septal cartilage of the rostrum.
Although vibrations might emerge ventrally, no cervical fat pads were found to facilitate this transfer. Lateral sound projection appears blocked by
the air-filled pterygoid sacs. While non-cetaceans appear similar to land mammals, cetaceans have derived special mechanisms that may enable
production and transference of low or high frequency sounds underwater.
The Likelihood of Sperm Competition in Manatees Explaining an Apparent Paradox. Reynolds, J.E.1; Rommel,
S.A.2; Bolen, M.E.2; Powell, J.A.3
(1) Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL, 34236, United States
(2) Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(3) Wildlife Trust
Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) exhibit promiscuous mating behavior. Even adolescent males participate in "mating herds" and
may be able to impregnate females (onset of spermatogenesis starts in manatees as young as two years old and as small as 237 cm). This behavior
suggests that manatees are sperm competitors. Surprisingly, manatee testes are not remarkably large. For adult males in non-winter (the testes
regress during winter), testicular size is about twice what is expected for "typical" male mammals of similar size, based on established allometric
relationships, with the combined testicular weight for manatees representing about 0.10% of the total body weight. Testicular size was generally
largest (i.e., > 1 kg for both testes) in older manatees (greater than 10 years old) although two seven-year-olds had large testes as well (n= 37
manatees). In such animals, the testes accounted for up to 0.32% of the body weight. However, one would expect testicular size for a sperm
competitor to be perhaps an order of magnitude larger than this. For comparison, in some cetaceans the testes account for 4-8% of the body
weight. Perhaps in compensation, the seminal vesicles of mature manatees may be larger than the testes. Thus, ejaculate volume may remain high,
allowing manatees to function as sperm competitors. We speculate that production of large volumes of semen, rather than of sperm, could have
positive energetic consequences for species such as the manatee with extremely low metabolic rates (15-20% of what would be predicted based on
allometry). This means, however, that sperm density may normally be low in manatee ejaculates. Male manatees may be especially vulnerable to
the effects of xenestrogens, which are known to reduce sperm counts in other species to levels were fertilization is impaired.
Population Genetic Structure of Manatees in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez -Lopez, Marta A.1 ; Caballero-Gaitan, Susana2
Falcon-Matos, Limarie ; Mignucci-Giannoni, Antonio A.1
(1) Caribbean Marine Mammal Laboratory, Universidad Metropolitana, PO Box 361715, San Juan, PR, 00936-1715, Puerto Rico
(2) Fundacion Omacha
A 1995 study delineated the population structure and phylogeography of the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus) in Florida and the Greater
Caribbean, including samples from Puerto Rico. The study compared mitochondrial (mt) DNA control region sequences among individuals of 8
countries. The samples from Puerto Rico showed two matriarchal lines, one of them shared with the Floridian haplotype and the other with the
Dominican Republic haplotype. These samples analyzed were mostly from one location in Puerto Rico. Our study analyzed 54 samples from
individuals throughout the Island including bones and skin from stranded carcasses, and skin and blood from live animals either in rehabilitation or
captured for telemetry studies. A fragment of 410 bp of the mtDNA D-loop was analyzed and compare with the sequences from previous studies
with the purpose of corroborating the existence of the two already described haplotypes throughout the Island, evaluate the possible existence of
additional haplotypes, and to observe the distribution of the these haplotypes along the coast.
Regional Heterothermy in Seals, Dolphins, and Manatees. Rommel, Sentiel; Pabst, Ann2 ; McLellan, William2
(1) Florida Marine Research Institute, MMPL, FWC, 3 700 54th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL, 33711, United States
(2) Biological Sciences, Univ oJ ... i Carolina at Wilmington
In healthy terrestrial mammals, colonic probes usually show relatively uniform core temperatures. In contrast to this terrestrial mammal
homeothermic paradigm, some marine mammals display regional heterothermy in colonic temperatures. These marine mammals have stable,
regionally specific temperatures at different locations along their colons; observed temperature differences are related to vascular adaptations that
inhibit elevated temperatures at their reproductive tissues. We have shown that seals, dolphins, and manatees possess vascular structures which
permit shunting of cooled superficial blood to positions deep within their bodies to avoid reproductive hyperthermic insult. These marine
mammals divert cooled venous blood to tissues surrounding their reproductive organs before it is mixed with the core circulation -- coopting
extrinsic venous circulation that is separate from the intrinsic circulation of their reproductive tissues. To quantify thermal effects of these vascular
structures, we have measured temperatures simultaneously at several locations along the colon in the harbor seal, bottlenose dolphin, and Florida
manatee. In seals, the distal colon follows the midline and thus, passes between cooled venous plexuses that line the abdominal and pelvic cavities;
the venous plexuses are juxtaposed to the testes or uterus, thus providing direct cooling for these thermally sensitive tissues. We have observed
colonic temperature differences greater than 20C deep within the pelvic and abdominal cavities in the harbor seal. In dolphins, the distal colon
follows the midline and passes between paired arteriovenous countercurrent heat exchangers that are found between the hypaxial muscles and the
testes or uterus. Colonic temperatures within the region of the heat exchanger were maximally 1.30C cooler than temperatures in front of and
behind this region in bottlenose dolphins. Temporary heating and cooling of the dorsal fin and flukes affected colonic temperatures at the heat
exchanger, but had negligible effect on colonic temperatures outside this region. In manatees, the distal colon follows the left lateral margin of the
abdominal cavity and passes over the region occupied by a venous plexus that is supplied with cooled blood from the skin. On either side of the
body, these paired cooled venous plexuses function as direct heat exchangers between the hypaxial muscles and the epididymides or ovaries.
Colonic temperatures adjacent to the heat exchanger were maximally 3.7C cooler than colonic temperatures measured in front of and behind this
region in male Florida manatees. The temperature distribution changed as the colon shifted when the animal was rolled on its axis. In summary, we
have shown that seals, dolphins, and manatees display regional heterothermy that reflects convective thermoregulation of their reproductive
tissues. Individual temperature profiles may change with season, physical activity, posture, and handling. Consideration of these normal healthy
profiles should be given when measuring and explaining body temperatures of diving mammals. Clinical interpretation of temperature profiles
may provide valuable insights for assessing health and physiological state of marine mammals.
Aerial Surveys for Marine Mammals off the Southwest Coast. Rosado-Odom, Vera M. ; Rodriguez-Lopez, Marta A.1;
Mignucci-Gianonni, Antonio A.1; Laborde-de-Crescioni, Ivette2
(1) Caribbean Marine Mammal Laboratory, Universidad Metropolitana, PO Box 361715, San Juan, PR, 00936-1715, Puerto Rico
(2) EcoElectrica, L.P.
Whales, dolphins and manatees have been known to use Guayanilla Bay in Puerto Rico and its surroundings coasts for daily activities. It is not
known whether the use of the area and specifically the Bay, is for feeding or as harbor in adverse weather conditions. We conducted aerial surveys
using an A-star AES350B helicopter to provide valuable data on distribution aspects and group associations of individual marine mammals
sighted. Two observers and a recorder participated in each flight. A total of four synoptic surveys were conducted, each one based on a four-hour
flight with an average altitude of 560 feet and speed of 90 knots. The survey included an offshore route, flown at a higher altitude (-750 ft)
searching for large whales, and a coastal route flown at lower altitudes (-400 ft) for smaller marine mammals. An average of 12 sightings was
recorded per flight. All sightings were of manatees and no cetaceans were observed. Manatee sightings were frequently composed by cows and
calves. If not, they were lone individuals feeding or traveling. The area of Guayanilla Bay, both inside the Bay and its adjacent eastern cays,
appear to be important habitat for manatees. Data from this effort will be use by wildlife managers to delineate future research needs in
documenting marine mammal habitat use of the Bay and adjacent areas, and any management actions needed to protect the species.
Adoption and Growth of a Captive Amazonian Manatee (Trichechus inunguis) Calf. Rosas, Fernando C.W. ; da
Silva, Vera M.F. ; Sousa-Lima, Renata S.1; d'Affonseca Neto, J.A.1; Mattos, Galia E.1
(1) Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas daAmaz6nia /Lab. MamiferosAqu6ticos, C.P. 478, Manaus, Amazonas, 69011-970, Brazil
The purpose of this study is to document the adoption of an orphaned Amazonian manatee calf at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amaz6nia
(INPA) (Manaus, Brazil) and report its growth for up to 100 days. In February 2001, Boo, an adult captive female gave birth to a stillborn calf at
INPA's pools. A few days before, INPA had received an orphaned male calf (Lt = 81 cm; Wt = 8.2 kg) that was placed with the lactating female.
The calf was immediately adopted by Boo. The body weight-length relationship for the adopted calf after 100 days was: Wt = 0.0000001592 x
Lt4.04. We compared this relationship to Boo's first calf (Ere), born in April 1998, which had nursed on its mother for 24 months, and whose
weight-length relationship for the first 100 days was: Wt = 0.00000003097 x Lt4.41. The length exponents (4.12 and 4.41) were not significantly
different (P>0.05), indicating that the adopted calf was growing in a similar way to Er&. However, these exponents were significantly greater than
3 (P<0.05), which is the mean value for most species. It is interesting to note that the length exponent of Ere gradually decreased during the
lactation period, reaching 3.00 on the 730th day after birth. A similar result was obtained for two bottle-fed calves raised with artificial milk: the
length exponents of these two calves (up to 100 days) were 4.1 and 4.9, dropping to 3.4 and 3.6, respectively, at the end of the lactation period
(about 520 days of life). The results suggest that Amazonian manatees grow more in weight than in length at the beginning of their lives, but that
at the end of lactation the species shows a weight-length relationship around 3, indicating that longitudinal and transversal body growth follows
similar patterns to most species.
Seasonal and Diel Patterns of Manatee Habitat Selection. Ross, Monical; Weishampel, John F.1; Flamm, Richard 0.2
(1) University of Central Florida, Biology Department, Orlando, FL, 32816, United States
(2) Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, St. Petersburg, FL
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 1991-1996 manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) telemetry data were analyzed to quantify
patterns of habitat selection along the west coast of Florida from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor. Satellite point data for 42 manatees were
examined using ArcView GIS for differences in water depth, water temperature, seagrass density, distance to shoreline, and distance to warm
water sources. To assess differences in habitat utilization based on sex or reproductive status, manatees were divided into the following classes:
Males (M, N=20), females (F, N=22), females with calves (FWC, N=13), and females without calves (FNC, N=16). Telemetry data extended
before or after the calving period for seven cows, FWC + FNC > F. The proportion of points associated with different habitat covers were analyzed
for the four manatee classes for winter (Dec. Feb.) versus summer (May Oct.) and day (times between a hour after sunrise and before sunrise)
versus night (times between a hour after sunset and before sunset) periods. Results suggested that males utilized a larger distribution of distant
habitats than females thus placing them further from warm water sources at different times of the year. FWC selected habitats closer to warm
water sources during the winter than FNC. Preliminary results indicated that all classes of manatees occupied seagrass space more frequently
during the night than during the day. Gaining an understanding of the manatee habitat use at different times of the day or year could potentially
help managers identify more precisely the areas which should be protected for manatees and those which would be more suitable for human
recreational use as well as perhaps providing a more efficient way of regulating warm water discharge by power plants.
Assessing Boater Compliance with Posted Manatee Speed Zones in Florida. Shapiro, Saral; Powell, James2
(1) Florida Marine Research Institute, 100 E, li il Ave. S.E., St. Petersburg, FL, 33701, United States
(2) Wildlife Trust
To address boat-related injuries and deaths of Florida manatees, managers created watercraft speed zone restrictions. An important step in
evaluating effectiveness of these speed zones is to examine boater compliance. Previous boater compliance studies concentrated intensive
sampling efforts at specific locations. This research provided a snapshot of statewide vessel traffic and boater compliance data, and a springboard
for future statewide boater compliance research. We divided the research into 3 components: 1) Long-term baseline 6 zones sampled (5 slow, 1
idle) twice monthly for one year; 2) Short-term baseline 4 of the 6 sites intensively sampled for 9 days (4 weekend days and 5 weekdays); and
3) Law enforcement study 4 additional sites sampled to evaluate the effects of law enforcement on compliance. We designated vessel speeds as
idle, slow, plow, plane, or cruise. Compliance was characterized as compliant (obeying the speed limit), technically noncompliant (1 category
faster than the speed limit), and blatantly noncompliant (2+ categories faster than the speed limit). Vessel types and sizes varied significantly
between locations (X2=230, p=0.00001). Average compliance in the slow zones was consistent (55-57%). Idle zones had less compliance, but
traffic traveled slower, with >80% of vessels moving slow or idle speed. Compliance increased with vessel size (&2=230, p=0.001). Different
vessel types in each location may explain differences in compliance among the study sites. Compliance increased significantly with the presence
of a law enforcement officer (2= 129, p=0.000001). The strong dependence of compliance on law enforcement negated any effects of either vessel
type or size on compliance. Based on results, management options could include: increasing the number of law enforcement officers; focusing
outreach and enforcement efforts on weekends and in areas most accessible to smaller watercraft; and designating critical manatee areas as idle
Managing Manatees through Mapping. Shaw, Cameron1; Barron, Robert2; Santos, Stewart2; White, Linda1
(1) U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL, 32216, United States
(2) U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mapping has been used as a tool to design Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) management and protection strategies for many years.
These efforts have primarily been conducted on relatively limited geographic scales to address site specific needs. While this management method
has been successful in manatee issues within a relatively small area, problems arise when these individual areas and the respective management
programs are joined together-jigsaw puzzle fashion. Inconsistences and omissions in the network of protective regulations and management efforts
become evident when viewed on an ecosystem scale as defined by the current range of the species. A Geographic Information System (GIS)
program has been developed to evaluate management decisions on a scale that encompasses the primary range of the Florida manatee. This
program employs information on characteristics of coastal and riverine habitats, including hydrology, vegetative coverage and bathymetry. These
data were used to identify habitats with similar characteristics. These distinct aquatic habitats formed the framework for analysis of marine
development, boat navigation patterns and waterway regulatory zones as well as manatee use patterns and areas of watercraft-related manatee
mortality. Using this overlay approach, managers can discern problem sites and deficiencies in the network of current manatee protection
measures. Managers are using the analyses from this GIS program in current Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbor Act permitting activities and for
establishing additional protective measures and areas for the Florida manatee on a range-wide, ecosystem scale.
Minimizing Negative Impacts from Human Interactions with the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus)
in Crystal River, Florida, U.S.A: A Values Conflict. Sorice, M. TexasA&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Each winter, over 300 endangered West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus) migrate to Crystal River, FL to thermoregulate in its naturally
warm springs. This phenomenon draws approximately 100,000 tourists who take advantage of the easy access and clear water to observe and
interact with manatees. The manatee encounter experience is unique, allowing tourists the opportunity to interact with a large, docile marine
mammal. Participants often touch, pet, and even "play" with manatees during encounters. However, the potential for harassment concerns some
stakeholders within the manatee protection community. In an effort to understand the management of manatee encounters in light of these
concerns, this study examined the context in which decisions regarding the acceptability of manatee encounters are made. Field research included
participant observation, formal interviews, and document analysis involving four stakeholder groups: the business community, manatee encounter
participants, research/management agencies, and an advocacy group. Stakeholder perspectives on manatee encounters varied based on the
perceived potential costs of harassment, scientific information on negative impacts, and the perceived benefits of permitting encounters (e.g.,
increased conservation support). These perspectives corresponded with each group's interpretation of the Endangered Species Act policy
prohibiting harassment. Groups with stricter interpretations tended to perceive any physical contact as harassing, whereas other groups interpreted
harassment as direct harm to the animal. The management of manatee encounters is a "wicked problem." The problematization of encounters is
not the result of scientific information on negative impacts; rather, it is an issue of divergent values. Consequently, there is no technical or "right"
solution. To minimize negative impacts and achieve a sustainable relationship with the resource, the business community must willingly invest in
manatee protection, and management decisions on manatee encounters must incorporate stakeholder input. Planning processes, such as the Limits
of Acceptable Change, provide proactive consensus-based frameworks that can be applied to the management of human-wildlife interactions.
Four-Year Consistency in Individual Vocal Patterns of Trichechus inunguis. Sousa-Lima, Renata S.; da Silva, Vera
M.F. Inst. Nacional de Pesquisas da Amaz6nia/ Lab. Mamiferos Aqu6ticos, CP 478, Manaus, Amazonas 69083, Brazil
The vocal signature hypothesis described for bottlenose dolphins assumes that one animal produces an individually distinct and stereotyped sound
(signature whistle) to broadcast its identity. In an earlier paper we identified individual vocal patterns in the isolation calls of Amazonian manatees
and discussed the possible presence of vocal signatures in this species. One of the assumptions of the vocal signature hypothesis is that there is
consistency in the vocal pattern over time. Isolation calls of two captive Amazonian manatees were recorded between 1998 and 2001 in order to
verify this assumption. The spectrogram contours of the isolation calls illustrate the maintenance of an individually distinct and stereotyped vocal
pattern for both individuals over a period of four years. For bottlenose dolphins, the stereotypy of signature whistles comes from the contour
configuration, i.e., the overall shape of the spectrogram rather than from more simple and discrete measurements of acoustic characteristics, such
as frequency and duration. Therefore, our results support the applicability of the vocal signature hypothesis to the isolation calls of the Amazonian
The Epidemiology of Perinatal Mortality in the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Spellman,
Ann C.; Smith, Jamison M. Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission /FMRI, Melbourne, FL, 32901 USA
Perinatal mortality rates in free-ranging wild animal populations vary, but in many populations they can contribute significantly to overall
mortality rates. Numerous factors contributing to perinatal deaths can have especially profound effects on the recovery of endangered species. The
population of the endangered Florida manatee is currently estimated at approximately 3300 individuals. The slow growth of this population may
be due to the fact that females reach sexual maturity at 6-10 years of age and produce on average only one calf every 3-5 years. Calves nurse for
18 to 24 months. Birth and mortality rates during the first two years are unknown, and cause of death is often undetermined due to rapid carcass
decomposition in subtropical conditions. In an effort to better understand perinatal mortality, state manatee mortality records from 1974-2000
(n=4042) were examined to identify any trends. Perinatal deaths accounted for approximately 21% of all mortalities (n=857). Six calves died
because of natural predation or human interaction, 57 were stillborn, and 234 died from other natural causes. Cause of death could not be
determined in 558 cases. There was no significant difference between the number of male and female calves recovered. Two counties, Brevard and
Lee, together accounted for 35.9% of all perinatal deaths, and for 35% of all mortalities during the same period. Although perinatal deaths
occurred throughout the year and state, the highest number occurred in spring and early summer months, along the central East and West Coast,
and may have been latitude dependent. GIS analyses show consistent overlap between known manatee calving grounds and locations where
carcasses were recovered. GIS analyses were used to compare aerial population distribution and abundance data to perinatal mortality patterns
within genetically and geographically distinct stocks.
Seasonal Occurrence of Male Antillean Manatees on the Belize Barrier Reef. Sullivan, Caryn Self1; Smith, Gregory
W.2; Packard, Jane M.1
(1) Texas A&M University, 200 Stonewall Dr., Fredericksburg, Virginia, 22401, United States
(2) San Pedro Town, Belize
Most research on West Indian manatee distribution has been done on the Florida subspecies (Trichechus manatus latirostris), whose movements
are directed by seasonal temperature changes. Antillean manatees (T. m. manatus) inhabit tropical waters throughout the Caribbean area where
temperatures are relatively constant. Using photo-id methods to investigate the distribution of the Antillean subspecies on the Belize Barrier Reef,
we identified a seasonal distribution pattern previously un-discovered using aerial survey and remote tracking methods in Belize. From 30 March
1995 to 15 Mar 1997, 338 twenty-minute surveys were conducted at Basil Jones Cut. Manatees were sighted in 143 (42%) of the surveys with a
probability of sighting significantly different among survey month (Kruskal-Wallis H = 116.493, P < 0.0001). Group size increased from zero in
January and February to a maximum of six in May. Eighteen individual manatees were identified and accounted for 87% of the manatee
encounters; 20 (17 identified and three unmarked) animals were males; gender of the remaining manatees was undetermined, but no females were
documented. From 5 February to 22 March (dry season) and 22 July to 13 August (wet season) 1999, 22 twenty-minute surveys were conducted at
Gallows' Reef (approx. 65 km SSW of Basil Jones Cut) to determine if this seasonal distribution pattern existed at other reef sites in Belize. A
highly significant difference in manatee encounters by season was also found at Gallows' Reef (Fisher's Exact Phi = .756, P-value = .001, df = 1).
Manatees were never encountered on the reef during the dry season surveys, but they were encountered during 73% of the wet season surveys.
These results reinforce the need for small-scale site-specific studies in addition to broad-scale regional studies (e.g. aerial surveys) in determining
seasonal distribution of Antillean manatees in Belize.
Release Criteria for Captive West Indian Manatees (Trichechus manatus). Valade, James A.; Adimey, Nicole M. U.
S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL, 32216-0912, United States
The USFWS and its manatee recovery partners have been involved in a manatee rescue, rehabilitation, and release program dating back to the late
1940's. While the program's initial focus was on treatment and husbandry, the Endangered Species Act expanded the program to include the
release of rehabilitated individuals. Distressed manatees are brought into captivity due to natural (cold stress, orphans, red tide) and human-related
(watercraft, marine structures, entanglements, entrapments) causes. Subsequent to successful treatment, most rescued manatees are released back
into the wild and adaptive success is monitored. As the program progressed, it became apparent that wild-born, adult manatees involved in short-
term rehabilitation were most successful adapting back into their native habitat. Protocols were adopted to establish and improve the release
program. General guidelines include a minimum length of 200 cm, a demonstrated ability to swim, dive and forage independently, and approved
medical clearance. Pre-release conditioning includes: limiting human interactions to only those which are necessary, avoidance of hand feeding,
reversal of conditioned behaviors, and offering native vegetation from water level and bottom feeders. Animal preparation includes recent
photographs, blood chemistry analyses, PIT tagging and, if required, freeze brands, and PTT, sonic, VHF, and satellite tags. Release sites include
returning the animal to the nearest location from where it was rescued or, in the case of hand or foster-reared individuals, the rescue site/origin
of the dam. Naive animals are released at warm-water sites during the winter. Release sites are evaluated for potential hazards including vessel
traffic, water-control structures, and proximity to nuisances. Other considerations include food availability, water depth, salinity, availability of
fresh water, presence of other manatees, and a contingency plan if necessary. Time in captivity, release location, and monitoring methods are
determined for each animal on a case by case basis.
Preliminary Observations of the Antillean Manatee, Trichechus manatus manatus, Behaviour in a System of
Natural Environmental Captivity in Barra de Mamanguape, Paraiba State, Brazil. Vianna, Juliana; Zanon,
Cibele; Vergara, Jociery Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais, Rua Sao Paulo 925/ 1202 Centro, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais,
The research goal was to learn the behavior of the Antillean Manatee in a natural environmental captivity, located in a branch of the Mamanguape
river within the state of Paraiba, Brazil. The work was realized with two male manatees, both four years of age, named Guape and Guaju. They
had been transferred from the main unit of the Brazilian Manatee Project, located in Pernambuco, on December of 1999. The captivity
encompasses a total area of 2852m2, and is enclosed by wood stakes and a mesh net 12 cm thick. The registers, duly noted on a spreadsheet, began
on the date of transfer and continued until 09 March of 2000. Observation duration was four hours daily, during a period of 79 days. The animals
were viewed from a tower ten meters in height, located adjacent to the captivity, to avoid infringing upon the animals' behavior. A total of 19
behaviors were notified, rest being the most frequent (80%). Within the three kinds of observed rest, the most frequent position found the animal
leaning on the bottom of the pool, while leaving the back exposed above water level (68.6%). Other behaviors observed include: relocation
(10.4%), feeding (7.1%), playing (1.8%) and social (0.7%). Nutritional intake was based upon vegetables and algae, and was offered on the bottom
of the pool. Accordingly, the animals were observed mainly feeding at this local. Play was characterized by swimming around the animal's own
axle or swimming in ventral position. The latter behavior was common of Guaju. Socially agonistic behavior, pursuit, approach or running from
the observers were uncommon. It is important to know these animals' behavior and adaptation to the environment to better understand the
Antillean Manatee as a species, one that is currently in critical danger of extinction in Brazil.
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Reed, C. 2001. Macro-evolution at its finest. Geotimes 46(12): 8. [Discusses the four-legged Eocene
Reep, R.L., M.L. Stoll, C.D. Marshall, B.L. Homer, and D.A. Samuelson. 2001. Microanatomy of
facial vibrissae in the Florida manatee: the basis for specialized sensory function and oripulation.
Brain, Behavior & Evolution 58: 1-14.
Reynolds, J.E., III, and J.A. Powell, Jr. 2002. Manatees (Trichechus manatus, T. senegalensis, and
T. inunguis). In: W.F. Perrin, B. Wirsig, and J.G.M. Thewissen, eds., Encyclopedia of Marine
Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego: 709-720.
Rommel, S.A., D.A. Pabst, and W.A. McLellan. 2001. Functional morphology of venous structures
associated with the male and female reproductive systems in Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus
latirostris). Anat. Rec. 264: 339-347.
Sagne, C. 2001. Halitherium taulannense, nouveau sir6nien (Sirenia, Mammalia) de l'Eocene
sup6rieur provenant du domaine Nord-TUthysien (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France). C. R. Acad.
Sci. Paris, Ser. 2, Sci. Terre et Planetes 333: 471-476. [Engl. summ.]
Sawamura, H. 2001. Comparison of the vertebral position of mounted Keton skeletons of
Desmostylus. Bull. Ashoro Mus. Paleont. 2: 27-32. [In Japanese; Engl. summ.]
Sweat, J.M., D.D. Dunigan, and S.D. Wright. 2001. Characterization of kidney epithelial cells from
the Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology -
Animal 37(6): 386-394.
Vetter, W., E. Scholz, C. Gaus, J.F. Muller, and D. Haynes. 2001. Anthropogenic and natural
organohalogen compounds in blubber of dolphins and dugongs (Dugong dugon) from northeastern
Australia. Arch. Envir. Contain. Toxicol. 41(2):221-231.
Weigle, B.L., I.E. Wright, M. Ross, and R. Flamm. 2001. Movements of radio-tagged manatees in
Tampa Bay and along Florida's West Coast 1991-1996. Florida Marine Research Institute
Technical Report TR-7: ii + 156.
Werth, A. 2000. Feeding in marine mammals. In: K. Schwenk (ed.), Feeding: form, function, and
evolution in tetrapod vertebrates. San Diego, Academic Press (xv + 537 pp.): 487-526.
Wright, I.E., J.E. Reynolds, III, B.B. Ackerman, L.I. Ward, B.L. Weigle, and W.A. Szelistowski.
2002. Trends in manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) counts and habitat use in Tampa Bay,
1987-1994: implications for conservation. Marine Mammal Science 18(1): 259-274.
SIRENIAN WEBSITE DIRECTORY
(NOTE: Not all of these sites have been visited recently by your Editor, and some may no longer
be active, or their addresses may have changed.)
Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute's Manatee Research Program:
The Call of the Siren (Caryn Self Sullivan):
Caribbean Environment Programme, Regional Management Plan for the West Indian Manatee:
Caribbean Stranding Network:
Columbus (Ohio) Zoo manatee exhibit:
Columbus (Ohio) Zoo manatee exhibit, live camera:
Dugong necropsy manual (available for downloading):
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Bureau of Protected Species Management:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute (Florida
manatee mortality data): [NEW]
Friends of the Manatee Association, Manaus & Balbina, Brazil:
boi.org.br/english/Ing_index2.htm> [Includes a bibliography of INPA aquatic mammal project
publications and abstracts] [NEW]
Great Barrier Reef dugongs:
IBAMA manatee project, Brazil:
Jacksonville University (Florida) Manatee Research Center Online:
"Manatee Watchers" Internet discussion list:
News clippings on Florida manatees:
Philippines Dugong Research and Conservation Project:
Save the Manatee Club:
Sea World of Florida:
Sirenews (texts of current and recent issues): ;
sirenian.org/> (for archive of many older issues)
Sirenia Project, U.S. Geological Survey: or
Sirenian International, Inc.: [Includes a bibliography of sirenian
literature, and an archive of Sirenews issues.]
Smithsonian Institution sirenian bibliography:
htm> [This is a relatively short bibliography, compiled by Joy Gold, that provides a very good
introduction to both the technical and the popular literature.]
Steller's sea cow: ; also the website [in
Finnish] of Dr. Ari Lampinen, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland:
West African manatee in Chad (Jonathan H. Salkind):
CHANGES OF ADDRESS
Kipp Frohlich (new e-mail address: )
Ignacio Jim6nez Perez, Especies y Espacios Internacional, Avda. Suecia 27,7. 46010,
Dr. Miriam Marmontel (new e-mail addresses: ,
Dr. Christopher D. Marshall, Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University at
Galveston, 5007 Avenue U, Galveston, Texas 77551, USA (phone: 1-409-740-4884; fax:
409-740-5002; e-mail: )
Dr. Daniel K. Odell, Senior Research Biologist, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, 6295
Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32821-8043, USA (phone: 1-407-363-2662; fax: 1-407-
345-5397; email: OR OR ;
TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Unit 9-3A, 3rd Floor, Jalan SS23/11, Taman SEA, 47400
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia (tel: + 6 03-7880 3940; fax: + 6 03-7882 0171; e-mail:
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