Title: Sirenews
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099157/00040
 Material Information
Title: Sirenews newsletter of the IUCNSSC Sirenia Specialist Group
Alternate Title: Siren news
Physical Description: v. : ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources -- Sirenia Specialist Group
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources -- Sirenia Specialist Group
Publisher: IUCN/SSC Sirenia Specialist Group
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Washington D.C
Publication Date: October 2003
Frequency: two no. a year[apr. 1984-]
Subject: Sirenia -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Marine mammals -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Additional Physical Form: Also issued via the World Wide Web.
Dates or Sequential Designation: No. 1 (Apr. 1984)-
Issuing Body: Supported 1984-Apr. 1992 by the Species Survival Commission of IUCN, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission; Oct. 1992 by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Apr. 1993-Oct. 1994 by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission; <Oct. 1995>- by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and Sea World, Inc.
General Note: Title from caption.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: No. 48 (Oct. 2007).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099157
Volume ID: VID00040
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 35841617
lccn - 2009208704
issn - 1017-3439


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Exploring Issues Related to Sirenian Management, Research and Conservation

14 December 2003 at the 15th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals,
Greensboro, NC

You are invited to participate in the Second International Sirenian Workshop on
14 December 2003 from 12:30-5:00 PM in Auditorium IV. The workshop's aim is to
foster communication between researchers, managers, and policy makers. Scientists and
managers representing countries from all over the globe are invited to submit an abstract
to speak at the workshop. Presentations should focus on information that will benefit
studies that enhance and protect endangered sirenian populations and support
advancement of our general understanding of sirenian biology. Presentations will be
selected in an effort to represent global sirenian research and will be selected on a first
come, first served basis. All presenters will be given 15 minutes, including time for
questions, and are asked to send a copy of their abstract and presentation by November
30, 2003.


To register for this workshop, please send your name, affiliation, full address,
including country of residence, phone number, and e-mail address. Please indicate if you
would like to present at the workshop. The workshop will be limited to 100 attendees and
there will be no registration fee if you pre-register. E-mail registration information should
be sent to Nicole Adimey .

Workshop Coordinators:
> Nicole Adimey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint Drive, South
#310, Jacksonville, Florida 32216-0958 (phone: (904) 232-2580, ext. 123; fax:
(904) 232-2404; e-mail: )
> Bob Bonde, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, 412 NE 16th
Avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32601 (phone: 352-372-2571 x17; fax: 352-374-
8080; e-mail: )

XXIX Reuni6n Internacional
para el Estudio de los Mamiferos Marinos

We are pleased to announce our next International Meeting, which will be held in
the City of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, May 2-5, 2004, with the following
WORKSHOPS or COURSES: We are asking for suggestions for the organization of
workshops or courses that can occur before or after the meeting. Along with the
proposals of subjects, you can suggest the exhibitors. Hector Perez-Cortes
will be in charge of organizing the workshops or courses.
This is THE FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT, to publicize the deadline for
submission of abstracts and dates of the meeting. Later a second announcement with
more details of the meeting will be sent through the web page of SOMEMMA. For any
questions or suggestions:
Diane Gendron President of SOMEMMA
Jorge Urban President of the Organizing Committee
Alejandro Gomez-Gallardo Secretary of SOMEMMA and Organizing
E. Alejandro Gomez Gallardo U. (Programa de Mamiferos Marinos, Dpto. de
Biologia Marina, Universidad Aut6noma de Baja California Sur, Carretera al Sur km.
5.5, 23080, La Paz, B. C. S., MEXICO; Ap. Post. 19 B 23081; tel: (en ext. 119) 01 612
128-0440, 128-0432, 128-0569, 128-0342; fax: 128-0880)


Sirenian International is a grassroots organization dedicated to worldwide
manatee and dugong conservation through research and education. We support research,
conservation, and education projects involving manatees and/or dugongs around the

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

world, with priority given to projects in developing nations where funding is traditionally
difficult to secure; typical small grant awards are US$500-$1,000. We will be having a
general membership/networking meeting at the SMM Meetings in Greensboro, NC, in
December. For more information about our Call for Proposals, Membership, and/or our
networking services and resources, please visit our website online at
or e-mail .

The Culture Corner
... Being an Occasional Sampling of the Inexorable Penetration of Popular Culture by

Starting next fall, 50 life-size fiberglass manatees, decorated by local artists, will
be placed around the city of Jacksonville, Florida, where they'll be on display for five
The Sea Cows for Kids project is modeled after similar projects done in other
cities, such as Chicago, which did a Cows on Parade theme, and Nashville, which did a
Catfish Out of Water theme. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Washington, D.C., recently did a
similar "Party Animals" project, with donkeys and elephants representing the Democratic
and Republican parties, respectively.] It will raise money for the Otis Smith Kids
Foundation, a local non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged children. The
foundation is working with local community organizations, including the Cultural
Council of Greater Jacksonville, to develop youth arts programs.
"Based on what we've seen, this project has been highly successful everywhere
it's been," said Tim Murphy, executive director of the foundation. "We've received a lot
of positive feedback about this project."
The manatee figures will be designed by Sally Corp., a local business that makes
animatronic robots for amusement parks.
Murphy said the idea is to raise money through sponsorships. The sea cows will
also be auctioned at the end of the project, in March 2005. For US$5,000, local
businesses or individuals can sponsor a sea cow. The money generated will pay for
production costs and a $750 honorarium to the artists selected to paint the sea cows, said
Bonnie Upright, director of community development for the foundation.
Interested artists may submit two designs. A committee will decide on the designs
that best represent the whimsical spirit of the project. There will be two figures available
for design, an individual manatee and a mother with her calf. Drew Hunter, design
director for Sally Corp., said the manatees will be about 6 feet tall, 7 feet with the
concrete base. Artists are free to paint, sculpt or decorate the sea cows as they wish, as
long as the structural essence of the creatures is not tampered with.
No other city has done a manatee for such a project, said John Wood, chairman
and CEO of Sally Corp. Wood said he sees the project as a great way to bring the
community together. "It's just a matter of community service, it's a worthwhile cause, it's
for kids," he said. Those involved in the project also see it as a way to draw tourism to
the area. It's no coincidence that the sea cows will be on display when the Super Bowl
[football championship] comes to town in February 2005. "It was very much a part of our
planning process to tie in with the Super Bowl and the exposure that our sea cows will
get during that high-profile event," Murphy said.

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

Those interested in participating can apply by contacting the Otis Smith Kids
Foundation, 1 San Jose Place, Suite 35, Jacksonville, FL 32257, phone (904) 889-6847,
or logging onto www.seacowsforkids.com. Deadline for submissions is Nov. 28, 2003.
- Tanya Perez-Brennan (Source: Florida Times-Union [Jacksonville, FL], Oct. 7, 2003,
city edition)



Australian Initiative to Ensure
that Dugong Hunting is Sustainable. -
At a meeting of the Barrier Reef
Ministerial Council in Brisbane on 12
June 2003, the Great Barrier Reef
Ministers resolved to refer the issue of
the sustainable use of dugong and turtle
to the Natural Resource Ministerial
Council with a view to developing a
nationally coordinated approach to the
protection of dugong and turtle. The
Ministers felt such an approach was
necessary in view of evidence before the
Great Barrier Reef Ministers of
significant population decline of dugong
and turtle species in the Great Barrier
Reef Region and in the Torres Strait.
A catalyst for this initiative was
research by my group and the
presentations I gave at the Conservation,
Biodiversity and World heritage Reef
Advisory Committee and to senior staff
of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Authority early this year.
The Australian Government
Minister for the Environment and
Heritage, Dr David Kemp, subsequently
indicated that he wished to see
significant progress on the issue of
Indigenous take of dugong and turtle
within 12 months, from July 2003. In
response, an Australian Government
Working Group (chaired by the
Department of the Environment and
Heritage) has been convened to address

Australian Government responses to the
issue of Indigenous take of dugong and
marine turtle species in Australian
The Working Group has met
twice to consider the issue and
subsequent actions by the Australian
government. I gave a presentation on my
findings at the 10 September meeting of
the Working Group. Unfortunately,
some Indigenous members of the group
are still unconvinced about the problem.
However, many Indigenous leaders from
hunting communities are supportive of
government intervention to address the
problem. Helene Marsh (Dean of
Postgraduate Studies, Professor of
Environmental Science, James Cook
University, Townsville, Qld., Australia;
phone: 07 47 815575 (via PA please use
before 3 pm), 07 47 814793 (direct line
please use after 3pm); fax: 07
47815581; e-mail:


Belize Cares for its Third
Orphaned Calf. On Saturday, 6 Sept.
2003, members of the Belize Marine
Mammal Stranding Network (BMMSN)
responded to a report of a manatee calf
observed alone for two days under a pier
in Belize City. It was rescued on
Monday, 8 Sept. after an emergency plan
was in place, and funds were secured.

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

The female calf was in very poor
condition, appearing emaciated and
rather weak. She was thought to be
about 3-4 weeks old, measured 116 cm
TL, and weighed 22 kg. Pedialyte was
offered, and the calf drank the fluid
immediately. She was fed oral
rehydration fluid for two days; thereafter
an infant's milk formula was given. The
calf was given the name "Tiny" by the
Hugh Parkey Foundation, who provided
initial funds for her care.
Tiny was kept in an inflatable
kiddy's pool and was monitored 24
hours a day by various BMMSN
members and numerous volunteers
including students from local colleges
(St. John's College and University of
Belize). Dr. Roberto Sanchez, vet for
Dolphin Discovery in Puerto Venturas,
Mexico, traveled to Belize to make an
assessment and to bring in Multimilk
for Tiny's new formula. She is now in
the care of Wildtracks, where she will be
for about a year.
This calf rehabilitation is the
third that Belize has ventured into.
Hercules was reared in Mexico by
Xcaret for a year, and Woody was taken
care of in Belize by Wildtracks. The
two were captured in 1999 and are now
free-ranging in Southern Lagoon, Belize.
They are both in good condition and are
regularly monitored with the assistance
of Wildlife Trust. The same course of
action is intended for Tiny, by rearing
her in a natural environment and
introducing her to natural vegetation, in
preparation for her release into Southern
Lagoon in about two years.
BMMSN is a program under the
Manatee Project of the Coastal Zone
Management Authority and Institute
funded by UNDP/GEF/ and EU. The
primary member agencies that assist
with this phase of Tiny's rehabilitation

are: CZMAI, Wildtracks, Belize
Agricultural & Health Authority, and
Animal Medical Centre; PACT and Save
the Manatee Club also provided
donations. All rehabilitation activities
are carried through the generous
donations of many local and
international organizations, without
whom, this project would not be
possible. For further information, or to
contribute towards this rehabilitation
initiative, contact Nicole Auil or
Angeline Valentine, Manatee
Researchers of CZMAI


Another Captive Pregnancy in
an Amazonian Manatee. Boo is
pregnant again. This is her third calf
since she became the first Amazonian
manatee to conceive and give birth in
captivity. "Er&' was born in April 1998
(Sirenews No. 30). After Ere, she had a
stillborn calf and immediately adopted
two orphans (Mana6s and Tapaj6s),
breastfeeding them simultaneously for
two years. We are expecting the next
birth to happen around November/
December 2003, but we are waiting for
the final results of hormone and
ultrasound analyses to confirm the data.
The Aquatic Mammal Lab of INPA has
today four adult females: Boo, 29 years
old; Tukano and her calf Tud (18 months
of age); Camba, our largest female, who
has never reproduced in 19 years of
captivity; and Cunhantai, an orphan
raised on a bottle and now ready to
reproduce. These results are due to the
efforts of the researchers, staff and
collaborators of the Aquatic Mammal
Lab with the financial support of
FINEP/Brazil and PPG7. Dr. Vera
M.F. da Silva (Laborat6rio de

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

Mamiferos Aquaticos-LMA, Av. Andre
Araujo, 936, Petr6polis, Manaus, AM,
Brasil; telefax: 55-92-6433184)


Airport Detector Beeps
Scanning Manatee. SARASOTA, Fla.,
July 26 (UPI) -- Airport security went
underwater in Florida to locate a medical
thermometer lodged in a manatee.
Lab workers at the Mote Marine
Laboratories in Sarasota fed two dime-
sized thermometers to Buffett, a 1,800-
pound manatee, to record his intestinal
temperature July 1. They expected him
to pass them both within eight days, but
only one appeared, the Sarasota Herald-
Tribune reported.
Manatee expert Debborah
Colbert came up with the idea of using
an airport metal-detecting wand to
determine where the missing
thermometer was exactly; so Chris
Kelleher of the Sarasota-Bradenton
International Airport agreed to get into
Buffett's tank and wand him over.
The thermometer was found deep
inside, and near the end of Buffett's
intestinal tract. He eventually passed the
gadget July 14, reassuring the scientists
who feared it would cause an infection.


Lawsuit Filed to Halt U.S.
Airbase Construction in Okinawa. A
coalition of conservation groups from
both sides of the Pacific filed a lawsuit
against the U.S. Department of Defense
over plans to construct a new heliport
facility on a coral reef on the east coast
of Okinawa, Japan. Conservationists are
concerned that the proposed 1.5-mile-

long airbase to be built on reclaimed
land over a coral reef would destroy the
remaining habitat of the endangered
Okinawa dugong, a cultural icon of the
Okinawan people.
The lawsuit (Okinawa Dugong v.
Rumsfeld C-03-4350, filed in the U.S.
District Court in San Francisco on Sept.
25, 2003) asks the Department of
Defense to comply with the National
Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) by
conducting a complete public analysis to
assess the impacts of the proposed
project on the Okinawa dugong. The
NHPA requires agencies of the U.S.
government to conduct a full public
process before undertaking activities
outside the United States that might
impact the cultural and natural resources
of other nations.
At issue is the proposed
relocation of the existing U.S. Futenma
Air Station in Okinawa to the coastal
area of Henoko. This area on the eastern
coast of Okinawa is the site of sea grass
beds upon which the Okinawa dugongs
depend for their food.
"The American military base
planned on this coral reef threatens the
survival of the Okinawa dugong and
should be reconsidered," said Takenobu
Tsuchida of the Dugong Network
Okinawa. "We are glad our friends in the
United States have joined our efforts to
preserve an essential icon of Okinawan
Peter Galvin, Pacific Director of
the USA-based Center for Biological
Diversity, stated, "This population is
considered the most isolated and
imperiled dugong population in the
world. The Okinawa dugong is so
threatened that it has been classified as
being nearly extinct." Galvin added
"Scientists believe that only 50 dugong
survive in the waters off Okinawa. This

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

project, if constructed, would very likely
drive the Okinawa dugong into
"The United States must be
sensitive to Japan's national treasures, as
well as international obligations to
protect the environment. The dugong has
a rich history and holds a special place in
Okinawan mythology and culture," said
Takaaki Kagohashi of the Japan
Environmental Lawyers Foundation.
"The people of Okinawa deserve respect
for their cultural and natural heritage just
as Americans would expect government
agencies to protect their natural
The coalition bringing the
lawsuit includes, as U.S. plaintiffs, the
Center for Biological Diversity and the
Turtle Island Restoration Network, and
four Japanese groups: Dugong Network
Okinawa, Save the Dugong Foundation,
Committee Against Heliport
Construction Save Life Society, and
the Japan Environmental Law
Federation. Earthjustice represents all
the plaintiffs.
The waters off Okinawa are the
northernmost home of the dugong. The
Okinawa dugong has been listed by the
government of Japan since 1972 as a
"Natural Monument" under Japan's
"Cultural Properties Protection Law."
Since 1955, the dugong has been
protected as a cultural monument by the
autonomous Ryukyu Prefecture, due
largely to its status as a revered and
sacred animal among native Okinawans.
The Okinawa dugong is also listed under
the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
"For Okinawans, the dugong
compares only to the American bald
eagle in terms of cultural and historical
significance," said Takuma Higashionna
from the Okinawa-based Save the
Dugong Foundation. "The myth of the

mermaid comes from sailors who saw
the dugong. Historically, Okinawans
believe the dugong to be a friendly
harbinger of sea disasters such as
"Living here in Yambaru for
seventeen years," said Ms. Anna
Koshiishi, an individual plaintiff in the
case, "I have learned many important
things from nature. All life on the Earth
has close connection and plays an
important role. Every life is
indispensable to keep the balance of this
connection. To save the Okinawa
dugong, which is a globally threatened
species, is to save my own life."
The U.S. National Historic
Preservation Act is international in
scope. It establishes a policy that "the
Federal Government, in cooperation
with other nations," will "provide
leadership in the preservation of the
prehistoric and historic resources of the
United States and of the international
community of nations." Congress added
Section 402 to the NHPA in 1980 to
comply with U.S. obligations under the
World Heritage Convention and to
mitigate the adverse effects of federal
undertakings abroad.
"Given the obvious impacts on
the dugong and its habitat from
construction of the new base, the
Department of Defense should consult
with Japanese environmentalists and
Japanese cultural officials in a fully
public process before moving ahead with
this project," said Martin Wagner of
Earthjustice, who is representing the
coalition in the United States.
"With a globalizing economy,
environmental issues have become
borderless," said Kagohashi of the Japan
Environmental Lawyers Foundation.
"Not a few environmental problems need
to be addressed by international

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

collaboration. This cooperation between
the Japanese and U.S. environmental
organizations and environmental lawyers
illustrates this new style of international
collaboration. We believe wildlife and
human beings live in one big house
called the Earth. The dugong's name as a
plaintiff in this case will show how we
are all connected." (Source: press
release, Center for Biological Diversity
(USA), Earthjustice (USA), and Japan
Environmental Lawyers Foundation
(Japan). The lawsuit can be read online
at: http://www.earthjustice.org/news/


The Dugongs (Dugong dugon)
of Hinatuan Bay, Surigao Del Sur,
Mindanao, Philippines. Modem
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) extensive
uncontrolled use of fish corrals and
illegal mesh size fishing in protected
areas; and (3) illegal over-expansion of
fish ponds.
For decades, government
environmental agencies in the
Philippines assumed the population was
extinct in Surigao. As a result, no new
endeavours were initiated to protect or
preserve this endangered species in the
Surigao del Sur region. 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 in
Sairgao Island.

In April 2001, a dugong calf was
killed in a fish corral accident, and after
conducting interviews with local people,
it was found that 2 other baby dugongs
had been killed in the previous 6 months.
National non-government and
governmental agencies were contacted,
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 this area.
From October 2000 to July 2002,
seven dugong calves and 2 subadult
dugongs were killed, and one calf tagged
and released by fishermen, all in
Hinatuan municipal waters. This is
strong evidence that either the
population has not gone extinct, or that
the area has been re-populated in recent
years. But, with 5 calves killed in the
past year, and increasing fishing
intensity, is there hope for continued
recovery? Only conservation on both
local and international level can save
dugongs from extinction.
Between the year 2000 and
August 2002, dugongs (Dugong dugon)
were documented in Hinatuan, Surigao
del Sur, Mindanao, in the Philippines,
and surveys are ongoing. The historic
range of the dugong included most
coastal areas of the Indo-Pacific (Reeves
et al., 1992). Today, only relict
populations remain and these are
separated by large areas wherein dugong
populations are either close to extinction
or are already extinct (Marsh, 1993). The
rationale behind the project was to
complement existing methods of dugong
biology studies, to document a
previously undocumented population,
and to formulate with national agencies
(particularly the Pawikan Conservation
Project, PCP) a plan to help conserve
this species in Hinatuan Bay. The

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

dugong is classified by the IUCN-World
Conservation Union since 1982 as
vulnerable to extinction (Hilton-Taylor,
2000). The dugong is also listed in
Appendix 1 of the Convention on
International Trade on Endangered
Species (CITES) of the Wild Flora and
Fauna (except the Australian population,
which is listed in Appendix II).
Methods. Hinatuan, in Surigao
del Sur (8022.1' N; 126020.0' E), is
located at the mouth of the Hinatuan
River on the eastern coast of
northeastern Mindanao (Fig. 1). It is
bounded on the east by the Pacific
Ocean, has an unbroken coastline with
white beaches and thirteen islets, and is
located only a few nautical miles from
the Philippine Trench. Hinatuan consists
of a number of mainly coastal barangays
(villages): Talisay, Loyola, Tidman,
Mahaba Island, San Juan, Cambatong,
Port Lamon, Langka, Pangasinan Island,
and Cabgan Island. The people of
surrounding barangays and islands say
that they regularly see dugongs in the
With colleagues and government
officials, I carried out interviews of local
fisherfolk on a regular weekly basis. I
visited areas daily to collect information,
and gave educational workshops and
training in association with the PCP.
When a fisherman sighted a dugong or
one was caught in a fish corral
(permanent fishing structure placed in
water) it was reported to the Centre of
Empowerment Resource and
Development (CERD). I carried out
monthly surveys of seagrass beds with a
uniform methodology (English et al.,
1997). Physical measurements of
dugongs and collections of samples were
made where possible, and all samples
given to the PCP, Protected Area &
Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the

Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR).
Dugongs have been sighted and
caught in Hinatuan for many years, with
records as far back as 1950 (DENR,
1995). In 1986 three dugongs were
caught in Port Lamon while swimming
together. In 1999 at Pagasinan Island, a
300 kg dugong was caught and
slaughtered and its meat was sold for
P20/25 per kilo (US$.40 or .50). A local
fisherman (1998) reported a dugong for
sale in the local market that was
approximately 250 kg. But slaughtering
and selling dugongs is not done anymore
in the open market; if anything this
practice has gone underground and the
animal is eaten locally. In 1975, in the
area of Tidman, dugongs were seen quite
regularly, and one report from the local
government documents that a single
dynamite fisherman killed no less than
10 dugongs. In 1999 dugongs could be
seen near the Hinatuan River mouth.
There are many accounts of fishermen
who say that in their lifetime and in their
fathers' generation there used to be
many more dugongs in Hinatuan. There
are even accounts that during certain
times of the year, when spear fishermen
were in the water, dugongs would
"tenderly embrace" the spear fishermen.
Dugongs are continually seen in
Hinatuan, but their habitat and numbers
are being depleted annually. Reports
can go undocumented, as local people
until recently did not understand the
significance of the dugong and the
threats that affect it. As a result, the
dugongs of Hinatuan are presently
threatened with extinction.
Recent information from
interviews now documents that the areas
of Campa and Harip in the north of
Hinatuan see dugongs on a regular basis.
In Harip they are seen every month all

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

year round, with the last reported
sighting April 10, 2002. In Campa the
last reported sighting was of an "adult
and four smaller ones". More research is
required, but I suspect that Campa could
be where the dugongs rest when not
Results. The current data show
that individuals and small groups of
dugongs are seen at regular intervals in
certain areas of Hinatuan. The main
places dugongs were spotted are as
follows: Cabgan Island and Maowa
Island; Langka, Pisotan, and Mahaba
Island; Pagasiinan Island, both
Singapore and San Juan; Maowa Island,
Mawmawaon Island, and Tipdos Island;
and areas of Port Lamon, Campa, and
Harip as far as Baculin.
Seven dugong calves have been
killed since October 2000. The number
of dugongs in Hinatuan waters, in my
opinion, is between 10 to 20 individuals
(see Figs. 1-2). The majority of
mortalities have been dugong calves,
new to the area and falling victim to the
multitude of inshore fish corrals. These
are the single most important factor in
killing and trapping dugongs and turtles
in Hinatuan. In the case of dugongs, up
to 75% of the mortality is due to fish
Discussion. Education and
advocacy campaigns and training, run by
the author, colleagues and the PCP for
the education of local officials and fisher
folk, have borne fruit. In August 2001, a
dugong calf was caught in a local
fisherman's net. He promptly placed a
makeshift tag in the tail of the dugong
and set it free. This incident shows the
beginning of cooperation with dugong
conservation from the local fisher folk of
Hinatuan. In August 2002, two dugongs
were caught in a fish corral in Barangay
Campa, and immediately the office of

CERD was contacted and the dugongs
were set free, where normally they
would have been killed. Usually, when a
dugong has been killed the carcass is
eaten, but in two out of the last three
mortalities (data are still forthcoming on
one mortality) the bodies have been
buried and not consumed, perhaps a
show of support and respect for the
project at hand. In light of the recent
findings, presentations and training, the
local government enacted policies and
legislation to increase the protection of
turtles and dugongs, and gave resources
to the author in the form of transport and
gasoline on a regular basis.
A pattern can be observed in the
data and distribution of sightings. Most
adults (large dugongs, >200 kg) are seen
in Port Lamon, Pangasiinan Island, San
Juan, Loyola, and Cabgan Island. In
these areas few calves or juvenile
dugongs are seen. In comparison to
other areas, more dugong calves have
been seen from Mahaba Island, Langka,
to Maowawoan Island and Maowa
Island. While this area has the highest
number of mortalities and sightings of
dugong calves, there are few reports of
adults residing in the area. On another
occasion, four dugong calves were seen
jumping and playing in these waters and
again no adults were seen. This area in
particular is sheltered, with little wave
exposure, has extensive mangroves and
sea grass beds, constitutes one of the
biggest marine sanctuaries Hinatuan has,
and is turbid enough so the dugongs are
not easily seen. This locality is a
possible dugong nursery area and is of
paramount importance to the survival of
the dugongs in Hinatuan.
It is my opinion that there are
two zones in Hinatuan with which the
dugongs interact. These can be referred
to as feeding zones and safety zones.

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

Recent information gathered in March
and April 2002 now suggests Campa as
the safety zone. This recent evidence
requires more investigation but is
plausible, as this is close to the feeding
grounds of Pangasiinan Island and Port
Lamon. The safety zone can be
described as an area where the dugongs
reside when they are not feeding. It is
when they leave their safety zone on
their way to the feeding zone that they
become vulnerable to inshore fisheries,
especially fish corrals.
As of yet there are no dugong
population estimates for the Philippines.
The fact that the population in Hinatuan
was undocumented or assumed extinct
shows that there could be other areas in
the Philippines where dugongs reside
and are still surviving in isolated
patches. Areas where dugongs once
lived and are now assumed to be extinct
should be investigated once more to
clarify whether they have in fact
succumbed to extinction. As has been
shown in Hinatuan, lack of reported
sightings does not mean extinction.
Conclusion. Information gained
from interviews shows that dugongs
were very common in Hinatuan in the
1950s, after which their numbers rapidly
declined. Statements like "I used to see
lots of them and now not as much" and
"My father used to speak of seeing lots
of them" were commonly heard. The
biological surveys also seem to
document a rapid and sharp decline in
the Hinatuan population. However,
there are no quantitative data available
on mortality due to lack of resources.
Further research in Hinatuan is needed to
document a possible dugong nursery
area. This is urgent, as rampant dynamite
fishing is a major contributor to the
accelerated decline of dugongs in the

Today, there are at least three
major areas in the Philippines that may
harbor a viable population of dugongs:
Palawan, Queson-Isabela, and southern
Mindanao (DENR, 1995). Dugongs are
reportedly extinct in other areas such as
the Visayas and western Luzon (DENR,
1995). More funding is needed in the
Hinatuan area for further research by the
PCP, and more collaboration should be
initiated to complement its work with
national and international groups and
governments. I have proposed that
Hinatuan be recognized as a "Critical
Habitat" under Philippine Republic Act
9147 to create a protected area for the


Anonymous. 1995. Dugongs Dugong
dugon (Muller, 1776) of the Philippines.
A report of the joint dugong research
and conservation program, May 1995.
Pawikan Conservation Project-Protected
Areas and Wildlife Bureau, Department
of Environment and Natural Resources,
Philippines, and Toba Aquarium, Japan.

Byrne, R. 2002. Coral Reef Information
Network of the Philippines (Phil Reefs)
Philippine Coral Reefs through Time:
Workshop Proceedings. Cover
Photograph and Chapter 28. Second
Atlas of Philippine Coral Reefs Series.
University of the Philippines Marine
Science Institute, Quezon City,
Philippines and the Marine Parks Center,
Tokyo, Japan.

Byrne, R. 2002. The dugongs of
Hinatuan Bay (abstract). SEAMAM II:
2nd International Conference on Marine
Mammals of Southeast Asia. Siliman
University, Dumaguete City,

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

Figure 1. Hinatuan Bay, Surigao Del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines. (Map c/o CERD)

Monthly Reported Sightings of Dugongs (Dugong
dugon) Oct 2000 to Aug 2002. Hinatuan Surigao Del
Sur. N=38
Number of 6
Sigthings. 4

JanFebMarAprMay Jn JIyAugepOctNo'Dec

Figure 2. Sightings of dugongs from October 2000 to July 2002, Hinatuan, Surigao Del
Sur, Mindanao.

j 0 00 150
Estimated distance




Areas where dugong (Dugong dugon) sightings
occurred, Oct 2000 to Aug 2002, Hinatuan SDS.


Frequencyof 10
sigthings. 5

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Areas in Hinatuan.

Figure 3. Area 1. Maowa Island, Area 2. Cabgan Island. Loyola Sanctuary. Area 3. Langka,
Area 4. San Juan Area 5. Pangasiinan Island, Area 6. Lacasa, Area 7. Mahaba Island, Area
8. Baculin, Area 9. Campa, Harip. Although this graph shows no sightings of dugongs in
the Port Lamon area, Port Lamon is an extensive feeding ground for transient dugongs that
reside extensively around Pangasiinan Island and inshore Port Lamon waters, as well as in
Campa. The sanctuary area and surrounding environs have extensive beds of Halophila sp.
which the author observed to have been regularly grazed.

Table 1. Summary of dugong mortalities from October 2000 to July 2002.

Area Date Size Weight Baby (B) Adult (A)
Approx. Approx.
Maowa Island Oct 20th 1 meter 35 kg B
Langka April 21st 1 meter 35 kg B
Langka August 12t 1 meter 20 kg B
Pangasiinan October 1 meter 35 kg B
Island 2000
Lacasa June 2001 1.3 meter 45 kg B
Lacasa Later 2000 Unknown unknown B
Lacasa August 2000 Unknown Unknown B

Mahaba December 197cm 250 kg A
Island 14th 2001

Baculin May 26t Nearly 2 100 kg A
2002 meters

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

Byrne, R. (unpublished) Marine
sanctuaries of Hinatuan Bay (survey
results of eight sanctuaries). CERD
Office, Surigao, 2001.

Byrne, R. (unpublished) The marine
turtles of Hinatuan Bay. Available from
the author. To be published in Marine
Turtle Newsletter.

English, S., C. Wilkinson, and V. Baker.
1997. Survey manual for tropical marine
resources. 2nd edition. Australian
Institute of Marine Science, Townsville.

Hilton-Taylor, C. (compiler). 2000.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Marsh, H. 1993. The status of the
dugong. Sirenews 20:14.

Reeves, R.R., B.S Stewart and S
Leatherwood. 1992. The Sierra Club
handbook of seals and sirenians. Sierra
Club Books, San Francisco. 359 pp.

- Rowan Byrne (Voluntary Service
Overseas, , P.O. Box
2440, QC Central Post Office, 1164
Quezon City, Manila, Philippines, and
Center for Empowerment & Resource
Development, Inc. (CERD), in
conjunction with Mr. Gary Cacho,
Fisheries Officer for CERD. Author's e-
mail: )


Tanzania's Sea Cow Population
Near Extinction. Tanzania's small
population of sea cows are rapidly facing
extinction due to entanglement and
drowning in gill nets, a report says.

"It is clear that dugongs are now
critically endangered in Tanzania, and
without immediate concerted
conservation effort, they will almost
certainly become nationally extinct in
the near future," according to a report by
the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and
the U.N. Environment Program.
Released July 29, 2003, the
report is based on testimony from local
fishermen who say that since January
2000, only 32 dugongs have been
spotted. A majority of the animals seen
by fishermen were already dead, after
becoming trapped and entangled in
fishing nets.
Dr. Amini Ngurasu, dugong
research coordinator for WWF, said in
an interview that donors and universities
are reluctant to fund research on
dugongs because there are so few of
them left, unlike other regional
endangered species like the sea turtle
and dolphins. Ngurasu said he has never
seen a live dugong.
Tanzania's dugong population is
estimated at less than 100, a level so low
that scientists doubt they can save the
animal, the report said. In the 1960s,
herds of 20 to 30 dugongs were
frequently seen along the Tanzanian
coast. Fishermen reported capturing up
to five dugongs in any given day. But
from the year 2000, only eight to 10
dugongs are captured every year in
Tanzania, the report said.
"The perception in all areas along
the Tanzania coast and its islands is that
it may already be too late for dugong
populations to recover," said the report
that recommended setting up dugong
sanctuaries and educating fishermen on
the importance of protecting the animal.
- George Mwangi (Associated Press)


Lago Amani: destino estival de manaties amaz6nicos en la Amazonia Occidental
Miriam Marmontel1, M.G. Guterres2, A.C.O. Meirelles3, J. Calvimontes4, and F.C.W.
'Instituto Desenvolvimento Sustentdvel Mamiraud, C.P. 38, 69470-000 Teft, AM,
2Pxboi@terra. con. br
3Associagdo de Pesquisa e PI eci vu ,it de Ecossistemas Aqudticos AQUASIS
4Universidad Nacional Agraria "La Molina ", Lima Peru
5Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amaz6nia, Manaus, Brasil
Entre junio 1994 y septiembre 2001 fueron capturados y radio-marcados 5 manaties
amaz6nicos (Trichechus inunguis) en las reserves de desarrollo sostenible (RDS)
Mamiraua y Amana, en la Amazonia occidental brasilefia, con el objetivo de determinar
habitat critic y desplazamientos sazonales. Los especimenes, todos machos adults,
midieron entire 189 y 257 cm en el moment de la capture. Hecha la biometria, colecta
de materials y marcaci6n, cinturones provistos de radio-transmisores con VHF con
frectiuncia unica en la faja de 174 MHz fueron adaptados a los animals. "Matintim",
"Ze Taboca", "Ticud", "Chico Ariramba" y "Ze Sabazinho" fueron monitoreados por
periods que variaran entire 4 afios y 10 meses (en el caso del ultimo capturado). El
seguimiento fue realizado por medio de receptores manuales o provistos de scanner, y
antena portatil tipo yagi de 3 elements, abordo de embarcaciones de diversos tamafios,
torres, casas flotantes o avionetas. El desplazamiento de 3 animals, hasta en cuatro
ocasiones, desde el lago Mamiraua hasta el lago Amana (distancia aproximada 130-150
km) durante el period de vaciante, y su retomo al Mamiraua durante la creciente,
confirm la existencia de una ruta migrat6ria entire las dos reserves. El seguimiento de
"Ze Sabazinho" durante la arribagdo (migraci6n) para el lago Amana y su retomo al
Parana do Castanho (area donde fue capturado, distancia aproximada 70-80 km) indican
una segunda ruta migrat6ria, internal a la RDS Amana. Estos datos sefialarian la
necesidad de los animals de tener dos ambientes distintos (varzea y agua blanca en
Mamiraua, y terra fire y agua negra en Amanh) para su ciclo de vida, y sugieren que el
lago Amana, con sus pozos profundos, sea un local de concentraci6n de manaties
amaz6nicos provenientes de diferentes lugares durante el period de seca.
Este trabajo fue possible con apoyo del IDSM, MCT y Petrobras Petr6oleo
Brasileiro S.A.

Filogeografia do Peixe-boi Marinho (Trichechus manatus) e Peixe-boi Amaz6nico
(Trichechus inunguis).
Juliana de Abreu Viannal; Marmontel, M.2; Santos, F.R.3
'Lab. de Biodiversidade e Evoluhdo Molecular, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais,
2Projeto Mamiraud, Brasil

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

3Lab. de Biodiversidade e Evolu do Molecular, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais,
0 peixe-boi marinho (Trichechus manatus) e o mamifero aquatico mais ameagado de
extincgo no Brasil. A especie ocorre desde a Fl6rida nos Estados Unidos, America
Central, Caribe, ate o Estado de Alagoas no Brasil, sendo que na costa brasileira a
populacgo desta especie esta estimada em menos de 500 individuos. 0 peixe-boi
amaz6nico (Trichechus inunguis), especie tambem ameagada de extincao, e end6mica da
bacia Amaz6nica. Ambas species, pertencentes a ordem Sirenia, estdo seriamente
ameagadas pela caga indiscriminada e destruicgo do seu habitat. Neste estudo, foram
sequenciados 410 pb da regiao controladora do DNAmt de 79 amostras de peixes-bois
amaz6nicos do Brasil, 29 de peixes-bois marinhos do Brasil, duas da Guiana Francesa,
cinco dos Estados Unidos e tres de Dugongo (Dugong dugon), especie tambem
pertencente a ordem Sirenia. Os dados foram analisados juntamente corn outras 72
sequtncias de peixe-boi marinho de outros 6 paises previamente publicadas. Foram
encontrados 21 hapl6tipos de peixe-boi amaz6nico, corn uma alta diversidade quando
comparada a especie marinha no Brasil que apresentou apenas dois hapl6tipos, sendo que
18 hapl6tipos foram encontrados para o peixe-boi marinho considerando-se as
populacges dos demais paises americanos. Das amostras analisadas tres amostras de
peixe-boi marinho, uma do Amapa e duas da Guiana Francesa, apresentaram hapl6tipos
tipicamente da especie amaz6nica. Uma amostra de peixe-boi amazonico procedente de
Belem, Para, apresentou hapl6tipo caracteristico do peixe-boi marinho da costa brasileira.
A analise do DNA mitocondrial foi complementada corn estudos de microssatelites e
RAPD confirmando a hip6tese de introgressdo entire as duas species. Alem disso, todos
individuos corn indicativo de hibridizacgo sdo procedentes da regiao pr6xima a foz do rio
Amazonas, area de simpatria das species. Estes resultados ressaltam a erosdo genetic
do peixe-boi marinho na costa brasileira, tanto em relacgo as demais populacges desta
especie em outros paises quanto em relacgo a outra especie compatriota da region
amaz6nica. Alem disto nossos dados demonstram a ocorrencia, de certa forma freqtiente,
de hibridizacgo entire as duas species que pode ser outro fator de ameaga a conservacgo
das duas species.
Apoio financeiro: Fundagio 0 Boticario.


Aketa, K. and A. Kawamura. 2001. Digestive functions in sirenians (review). Bull. Fac.
Bioresources, Mie University No. 27: 85-103. [In Japanese; Engl. summ.]

Bite, J., H. Marsh, and I. Lawler. 2003. The quality of seagrass as a dugong food
resource: the importance of the effects of season and water depth. [Abstract.] Gulf
of Mexico Science 21(1): 121-122.

Bossart, G.D., R.A. Meisner, S.A. Rommel, S.-J. Ghim, and A.B. Jenson. 2003.
Pathological features of the Florida manatee cold stress syndrome. Aquatic
Mammals 29(1): 9-17.

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

Branson, B.A., and M.L. Branson. 2000. Mermaids, manatees, and dugongs. Biology
Digest 26(6): 10-17.

Caldas, S.T. 2003. Floats of fancy. BBC Wildlife 21(4): 56-58. [Manatees in Brazil.]

Capasso, L. 1997. Osteoma: palaeopathology and phylogeny. Internal. Jour.
Osteoarchaeology 7: 615-620.

Courbis, S.S., and G.A.J. Worthy. 2003. Opportunistic carnivory by Florida manatees
(Trichechus manatus latirostris). Aquatic Mammals 29(1): 104-107.

Deutsch, C.J., J.P. Reid, R.K. Bonde, D.E. Easton, H.I. Kochman, and T.J. O'Shea. 2003.
Seasonal movements, migratory behavior, and site fidelity of West Indian
manatees along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Wildlife Monographs 151:

Dilbone, R.P. 1965. Mycosis in a manatee. Jour. Amer. Veter. Med. Assoc. 147: 1095-

Douglas, D.S. 1996. The sirenian's final aria: the State of Florida and the state of the
West Indian manatee. Ocean Realm, Jan. 1996: 70-83.

Estevens, M. 2003. Miocene marine mammals from Setubal Peninsula. [and] Miocene
marine mammals from Lisbon. [2 abstracts.] Cidncias da Terra, Vol. Especial V:

Figueiredo, C. 2001. Peixe ou boi? Brasilia, publ. by the author: 1-28. [Children's

Hines, E. 2002. Conservation of the dugong (Dugong dugon) along the Andaman coast of
Thailand. In: P. Dearden (ed.), Environmental protection and rural development
in Thailand. challenges and opportunities. Bangkok, White Lotus Press: 155-180.

Marmontel, M., and J.R.M. Queiroz. 2002. Opeixe-boi amazonico. Publ. by the authors:
1-1-30. [Children's book]

Marshall, C.D., H. Maeda, M. Iwata, M. Furuta, S. Asano, F.C.W. Rosas, and R.L. Reep.
2003. Orofacial morphology and feeding behaviour of the dugong, Amazonian,
West African and Antillean manatees (Mammalia: Sirenia): functional
morphology of the muscular-vibrissal complex. Jour. Zool. 259: 245-260.

Morales-Vela, B., J.A. Padilla-Saldivar, and A.A. Mignucci-Giannoni. 2003. Status of the
manatee (Trichechus manatus) along the northern and western coasts of the
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Carib. Jour. Sci. 39(1): 42-49.

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

O'Shea, T.J. 2003. Toxicology of sirenians. In: J.G. Vos, G.D. Bossart, M. Fournier, and
T.J. O'Shea (eds.), Toxicology of marine mammals. London & New York, Taylor
& Francis: 270-287.

Sadler, R. 2003. Last gasp for island dugongs. BBC Wildlife 21(3): 24. [Airbase
construction on Okinawa.]

Saegusa, H. 2002. A partial skeleton of Paleoparadoxia from San-yama, Ogano-cho,
Saitama Prefecture, central Japan. Nature & Human Activities (Hyogo, Japan) 7:

Vallee, J.D. 2003. Florida's besieged manatees. Sniuh Florida Sport Fishing Magazine
1(4): 60-62.

Vergara-Parente, J.E., J.J.C. Sidrim, A.G.P.E. Pessoa, C.L. Parente, M.C.C. Marcondes,
M.F.S. Teixeira, and M.F.G. Rocha. 2003. Bacterial flora of upper respiratory
tract of captive Antillean manatees. Aquatic Mammals 29(1): 124-130.

Vergara-Parente, J.E., J.J.C. Sidrim, M.F.S. Teixeira, M.C.C. Marcondes, and M.F.G.
Rocha. 2003. Salmonellosis in an Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus
manatus) calf: a fatal case. Aquatic Mammals 29(1): 131-136.

Zalmout, I.S., M. Ul-Haq, and P.D. Gingerich. 2003. New species of Protosiren
(Mammalia, Sirenia) from the early Middle Eocene of Balochistan (Pakistan).
Contr. Mus. Pal. Univ. Michigan 31(3): 79-87.

Zhou K., Xu X., and Tang J. 2003. Survey of status of the dugong in the Beibu Gulf,
China, with remarks on the Indian humpbacked dolphin (Sousa plumbea). Acta
Theriologica Sinica 23(1): 21-26. [In Chinese; Engl. summ.]

(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

Caribbean Stranding Network:

Columbus (Ohio) Zoo manatee exhibit:

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003



Dugong necropsy manual (available for downloading): corp_site/info_services/publications/research_publications/rp64/index.html>

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Bureau of Protected Species

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute
(Florida manatee mortality data):

Friends of the Manatee Association, Manaus & Balbina, Brazil: dopeixe-boi.org.br/english/Ing_index2.htm> [Includes a bibliography of INPA aquatic
mammal project publications and abstracts]

Fundaci6n Salvemos al Manati de Costa Rica:

Great Barrier Reef dugongs: publications/dugong/index.html>

IBAMA manatee project, Brazil:

Jacksonville University (Florida) Manatee Research Center Online:

Manatee neuroanatomy:

"Manatee Watchers" Internet discussion list: /MANATEE>

News clippings on Florida manatees: enmanate.htm>

Philippines Dugong Research and Conservation Project: com.ph>

Save the Manatee Club:

Sea World of Florida:

SEMARNAP, Secretaria de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca, Mexico:

Sirenews No. 40

October 2003

Sirenews (texts of current and recent issues): snews.htm>; (for archive of most older

Sirenia Project, U.S. Geological Survey: or www.nfrcg.gov/sirenia>

Sirenian International, Inc.: [Includes a bibliography of
sirenian literature, and an archive of Sirenews issues.]

Smithsonian Institution sirenian bibliography: nmnh/sirenia.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: < http://home.t-online.de/home/rothauscher/steller/steller.htm>;
also the website [in Finnish] of Dr. Ari Lampinen, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland:

West African manatee in Chad (Jonathan H. Salkind): manatee-index.html >


African Manatee Research Program (Frederic G. Speyser): @laposte.net>


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