Title: Sirenews
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 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 2008
Frequency: two no. a year[apr. 1984-]
semiannual
regular
 Subjects
Subject: Sirenia -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Marine mammals -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Additional Physical Form: Also issued via the World Wide Web.
Dates or Sequential Designation: No. 1 (Apr. 1984)-
Issuing Body: Supported 1984-Apr. 1992 by the Species Survival Commission of IUCN, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission; Oct. 1992 by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Apr. 1993-Oct. 1994 by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission; <Oct. 1995>- by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and Sea World, Inc.
General Note: Title from caption.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: No. 48 (Oct. 2007).
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099157
Volume ID: VID00050
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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cneAen e ws
Newdetter of the IUCN girenia Specialist Group "

OCTOBER 2008 Funded by the Ug Marine Mammal Commission NUMBER 50

IN T-I1 1I.9UE:

FIR!T ORPHANED MANATEE CALF FROM GUATEMALA TRANgPORTED TO BELIZE (pg. II)

IMPORTANT PROGRESS ON DUGONG AND WEST AFRICAN MANATEE MOUs (pg. I s 2)


NEW SIGNATORIES AND FUNDS FOR DUGONG AGREEMENT


Bonn, 1 September 2008: Last week's meeting in Bali, Indonesia, of
the signatories to the UNEP/CMS Memorandum of Understanding on
the Conservation and Management of Dugongs (Dugong dugon)
included a ceremony at which representatives of Comoros, Kenya and
Philippines signed the agreement. These three signatures bring the total
number of countries involved in the initiative to eleven, less than a year
after it was finalised in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Participants summarized the conservation challenges and priorities in
their countries and discussed a mechanism for funding future activities. Terms of reference for project funding
were agreed and a simple system which will allow Range States to apply for grants will be elaborated. Further
details will be posted on the CMS website in due course.

The most exciting news was the welcome and generous offer from Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) to
provide full funding for the operations of the MoU, including the establishment of a secretariat to service the
Dugong agreement. Details of the offer, which had been circulated to interested States earlier in the year, were
spelled out in a paper tabled at the meeting. The EAD offer also foresees the creation of a sub-regional
coordination unit for the northwestern area of the Indian Ocean and South East Asia Marine Turtle MoU
(CMS/IOSEA) and additional staff to service the CMS Raptor Agreement currently under negotiation.


UNION INTERNATIONAL POUR LA CONSERVATION DE LA NATURE ET DE SES RESOURCES
S 1,SSC I INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
sp.cIl s.r..,.. commission Commission de la sauvegarde des especes-Species Survival Commission
Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year in April and October and is edited by
Cynthia R. Taylor, Wildlife Trust, 233 Third St. N., Suite 300, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA
and
James A. Powell, PhD, Sea to Shore Alliance, 200 Second Ave. S., #315, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA
Sirenews is available online at www.sirenian.org and www.marinemammalogy.org.









Delegates welcomed the EAD offer, which will inject some USD 3.4 million into CMS-related activities over
the first three years of the arrangement.

Executive Secretary Robert Hepworth, who attended the meeting described the Emirate's offer as "extremely
generous" and said it would provide a springboard for success for two of the ten CMS regional agreements
negotiated since the last CMS COP in 2005, as well as relieving future budgetary pressures on both the
Convention and IOSEA.

The photo above shows Philippine Ambassador H.E. Vidal Erfe Querol signing the Dugong Agreement in the
presence of CMS Executive Secretary, Robert Hepworth, and CMS Senior Advisor, Douglas Hykle

The Dugong meeting was held back-to-back with the Fifth Meeting of IOSEA Signatory States during the
period 19-23 August 2008. A total of one hundred delegates from 30 countries attended the combined events.

-Submitted by Helene Marsh (helene.marsh@jcu.edu.au), from the Convention on Migratory Species website
(http://www.cms.int/news/PRESS/nwPR2008/09_Sep/nw_010908 Dugong Bali.htm)

CMS WATCH II MEETING IN LOME, TOGO

On October 2-3, 2008 the United Nations Environment Programme, Convention of Migratory Species
(CMS) hosted the second meeting of Western African Talks on Cetaceans and their Habitats (WATCH) in
Lome, Togo. This meeting followed upon the initial success of last year's WATCH meeting in Tenerife, Canary
Islands, Spain to establish a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Conservation of the Manatee and
Small Cetaceans of Western Africa and Macronesia, as well as two separate Action Plans. WATCH II was
attended by representatives from 22 West African range countries, as well as three marine mammal scientific
advisors and staff from five NGOs. Over two days the participants reviewed the action plans and the MoU to
check facts, verify references and harmonize the English and French versions. On the afternoon of October 3 a
signing ceremony was held and the MoU was signed by representatives from 15 countries, as well as three
NGOs (including Wildlife Trust and Wetlands International, which are specifically focused on West African
manatee work in the region). The MoU takes effect immediately after seven countries become signatories, so it
has been successfully ratified and will remain open indefinitely for other countries to sign. It is now hoped that
this ambitious document will lead to greater research and conservation efforts for the species. For more
information, please see the UNEP website:
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentlD=548&ArticlelD=5939&l=en
-Lucy Keith (Wildlife Trust, keith@wildlifetrust.org)

MARINE MAMMAL CONSERVATION NETWORK OF INDIA

The site of this newly initiated network is www.marinemammals.in. There are some 30 marine mammal
species including the Dugong to be found in the Indian and South Asian seas. This site has an illustrated
account for each of these species. It also has an identification guide that is meant for assisting with the
recognition of both animals at sea and stranded specimens. A printable stranding booklet is available from the
site. A database of records of marine mammals from the Indian region dating from the 19th century is an
important component of this novel web-based project. The information gathering and dissemination is dynamic.
Anyone visiting the site can upload text and photographs to the site for inclusion in the database. Researchers


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will find the bibliography and uploaded papers helpful. This website is associated with the
marinemammalsofindia yahoogroup. -Kumaran Sathasivam (k_sathasivam@yahoo.co.in)

NEW INFORMATION ON THE BARNACLE Chelonia manati GRUVEL, 1903, A COMMENSAL
EPIBIONT OF SIRENIANS: AN APPEAL FOR MUCH-NEEDED SAMPLES

Barnacles of the superfamily Coronuloidea (Cirripedia: Balanomorpha) are obligate commensals of
marine animals including sea turtles, sea snakes, crustaceans, cetaceans and sirenians (Newman and Ross,
1976). Over twenty coronuloid barnacle species are currently recognized, with two species known to attach to
sirenians: Chelonibia manati Gruvel, 1903 and Platylepas hexastylos (Fabricius, 1798). While P. hexastylos
commonly attaches to garfish, sea snakes, sirenians and most often to sea turtles, C. manati is believed to be
exclusive to manatees and dugongs.
Two subspecies assigned to C. manati were described by Pilsbry (1916): C. manati crenatibasis and C.
manati lobatobasis. These two forms have only been recorded from sea turtles in the western North Atlantic
Ocean. Minute differences in shell morphology distinguish these two subspecies from C. m. manati from
sirenians.
When compared to congeners that attach only to turtles and crabs: Chelonibia caretta (Spengler, 1790),
Chelonibiapatula (Ranzani, 1818) and Chelonibia testudinaria (Linnaeus, 1758), C. manati is unique in that it
forms dendritic, bifurcating longitudinal ribs or 'fingers' that extend outwards and downwards from the
periphery of the basal margin (Figure 1). These structures serve to anchor this species to the skin of the host by
holding or pinching the epidermis.
Preliminary information derived from genetic analyses conducted by Dr. John D. Zardus and David T.
Lake of the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina indicate that the distinctive C. manati is actually a specialized
morphological form of the more commonly reported Chelonibia testudinaria from sea turtles. Moreover, similar
analyses conducted by the author and Dr. Paul Rawson of the University of Maine at Orono indicate that the
barnacle Chelonibiapatula, which attaches most commonly to crabs and chelicerates, is also a specialized
morphological form of Chelonibia testudinaria. That is, the barnacle C. testudinaria is morphologically plastic
and the size and shape of its shell varies with respect to the host it has settled upon.
Conversely, C. testudinaria also displays cryptic diversity when specimens are assayed from widely
separated localities (Rawson et al., 2003). Although specimens appear similar superficially, DNA analyses
indicate that C. testudinaria actually consists of three different species: an Atlantic/Mediterranean species, an
Indo-Pacific species and an Eastern Pacific species. Whether 'manati' follows this same trend is unknown.
To date, our analyses include a large number of barnacles collected from sea turtles world-wide and a
small number of barnacles from manatees from the Western North Atlantic Ocean. We are currently in the
process of reclassifying the genus Chelonibia and are in need of barnacle samples from manatees and dugongs
in order to reinforce and strengthen our findings with respect to formaa manati'. Any help in obtaining these
samples would be greatly appreciated and acknowledged. Researchers interested in helping with this study
should contact the author for further details and necessary sampling/preservation methodologies. -Michael G.
Frick (Caretta Research Project, P.O. Box 9841, Savannah, Georgia 31412; e-mail: caretta05@aol.com).

References

Newman, W.A. & A. Ross. 1976. Revision of the Balanomorph barnacles; including a catalogue of the species.
San Diego Society of Natural History Memoir 9: 1-108.


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Pilsbry, H.A. 1916. The sessile barnacles (Cirripedia) contained in the collections of the U.S. National Museum;
including a monograph of the American species. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum 93: 1-366.

Rawson, P.D., R. MacNamee, M.G. Frick & K.L. Williams. 2003. Phylogeography of the coronulid barnacle,
Chelonibia testudinaria, from loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta. Molecular Ecology 12: 2697-2706.
















Figure 1. Chelonibia manati with manatee (host) skin still attached.

IDENTIFYING DUGONG STOCK STRUCTURE
The global range of the dugong is vast (~ 140,000km). However, it is highly fragmented. For example,
the length of coast between the northern limits of the dugong's range in East Africa to the Red Sea is -1700 km;
the distance between the dugong habitat in the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Kutch in India is also -1700 km;
the distance from dugong habitat in southern India to the Myanmar Border with Bangladesh is -4,000 km.
Because of this fragmentation, the global assessment of the dugong's status needs to be supplemented by
understanding of its regional stock structure. Our group at JCU has been studying stock structure with a focus
on Australian dugongs using both mtDNA and microsatellites. The results show that: (1) Australian dugongs are
genetically distinct from most dugongs sampled from outside Australia; (2) there are two major genetic lineages
within Australia that apparently reflect historical sea level changes; (3) both Australian and South East Asian
lineages occur at Ashmore Reef on the edge of the Australian continental shelf about 370 km from Western
Australia and 150 km from Timor Leste.
In order to better understand the stock structure of dugongs, as a basis of regional assessments of its
conservation status, we need additional samples from various parts of the dugong's range, particularly: (1)
anywhere outside Australia; (2) the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
We would like to collaborate with researchers throughout the dugong's range. The data resulting from
the genetic analysis of each sample will be placed on a secure website for the use of all sirenian researchers. A
sample of the DNA from each dugong will be returned to the contributor to enable it to be used for further
research.

Potential collaborators should contact: Professor David Blair, david.blair@jcu.edu.au, or
Associate Professor Michelle Waycott, michelle.waycott@jcu.edu.au
Many thanks. Helene Marsh, James Cook University (helene.marsh@jcu.edu.au)


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LOCAL NEWS


ABU DHABI

ABU DHABI TRIES TO SAVE THE DUMPY "LADY OF THE SEA"
The National, 18 September 2008

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates It's a little puzzling exactly how the shy, dumpy dugongs that graze in
Abu Dhabi's warm coastal waters were once mistaken for mermaids. As a species listed by the World
Conservation Union as "vulnerable to extinction," the dugongs of Abu Dhabi are a national treasure, according
to the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). In fact, the emirate's shallow coastal waters are home to a
dugong population second in number only to that in Australia.

The species, whose name comes from the Malay term "duyung", meaning "lady of the sea," has been spotted in
the channels around Abu Dhabi Island as well as within two kilometres of the Corniche. Of the approximately
7,000 dugongs believed to live in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, Abu Dhabi is home to about 40 per cent of
them, according to EAD estimates. But pressures from urbanisation and human activities such as fishing and
trawling, not to mention oil spills, are further putting the creatures in peril. So, the EAD's Marine Research
Centre has embarked on conservation efforts to restore the population.

Next month will mark the first anniversary of the UAE becoming the first Arab country to sign a Memorandum
of Understanding concerning the conservation and management of dugongs. The city's expansion along the
coastal belt has encroached on the dugongs' habitat, and dredging has disturbed the seagrass beds, the
mammal's only source of food, explained Thabit Zahran al Abdessalaam, the director of the marine biodiversity
management sector at the EAD. "Abu Dubai is attractive for dugongs as almost all the sea grass beds in the
entire UAE are here," he said, adding that dugongs are protected under UAE law and anyone found to be
harming them can be prosecuted.

Although dugongs are distributed in the coastal waters of more than 35 countries, the EAD's effort to save its
dugong population is tied to the heritage of local people. With so much at stake, preserving the life of creatures
that have lived in the Arabian Gulf for millions of years is seen as important for both present and future
generations.

Full story and source: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20080918/FRONTIERS/50094519/1036

COLOMBIA
Implementation of a management plan and conservation of Trichechus manatus manatus in the
lower Sinu River Basin, Department of Cordoba, Colombia. The Antillean manatee is listed as endangered on
the IUCN Red List. In Colombia the populations are affected principally by human alterations such as
fragmentation, drought and contamination. Currently the availability of suitable habitat is reduced, and it is
necessary to carry out projects that guarantee the survival of this herbivore mammal, which is important for the
balance and productivity of the habitat. The present study determined the distribution, feeding and use of habitat
of the manatee. From September 2005 to July 2006, data was collected in five samplings using two
components: one biologic and one social. The biologic component consisted of the search for indirect evidence
(feeding areas, feces) and direct evidence (sightings). In the social component interviews, sightings were


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recorded and educational activities with fishermen were conducted. A total of 182 feeding areas were
registered: 117 in the river and river mouth, 51 in the Cienaga Grande de Lorica, and 14 in the mangroves.
Twenty-six feces samples were recovered: 22 in mangroves, 3 in the Cienaga Grande de Lorica and one in the
sea. The results documented in the direct evidence surveys were 9 sightings with 18 individuals and 411 events:
3 in the river, 3 in the Cienaga Grande de Lorica, 2 in the sea and one in the mangroves. One-hundred forty-nine
interviews were conducted with fishermen and 45 sighting points were taken. The results showed the manatee
has an important population distributed in the Cienaga Grande de Lorica, in Sinu river from Cafio Aguas
Prietas, in the antiguo delta (mangrove zone) (Cienaga de Ostional, Cafio Salado), in San Bernardo del Viento,
and San Antero (marine zone). This distribution is located principally in the Cienaga Grande de Lorica where
river level fluctuations affect distribution and behavior. The river is used for reproduction and feeding when the
river levels are high. This is not an important variable in the other ecosystems; the river, mangroves and the
river mouth are used for transit, resting and feeding. The sightings in the sea were related with marine kelps
possibly used for feeding.
-Dalila Caicedo-Herrera (Bi6loga Marina, Fundaci6n Omacha, Calle 86A No. 23 38,
Bogota D.C., Colombia, Tel: 57 1 2362686, dalila@omacha.org, www.omacha.org)

Distribution and conservation status of the manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) in the lower
Atrato River Basin, Choco, Colombia. The Antillean manatee is an endangered species due to the deterioration
of ecosystems through fragmentation, drought, sedimentation, and contamination. The manatee also continues
to experience hunting pressure in some regions of Colombia, including the Atrato river basin. In Colombia the
Antillean manatee is distributed in the river basins of Magdalena, Sinu, Orinoco and Atrato. There are very few
studies of the populations in the Atrato River, therefore an investigation of the population was initiated to gather
information on the status of the species in the region. In this project we studied the distribution and the
conservation status of manatees in the lower Atrato river basin using two methodologies, one biological and one
social. For the biological component we searched for direct evidence (sightings) and indirect evidence (feeding
areas). For the social component we conducted short interviews, education activities and gathered sighting
points. The sampling was conducted during high water and in the transition period. Seven sightings (of seven
manatees) and 128 feeding areas were recorded. Seventy-nine interviews were conducted and 24 sighting points
of fishermen and 12 hunting locations were noted. Manatees were distributed in Unguia, Riosucio and Carmen
del Darien. Based on the data collected by the community, it was observed that the distribution of the manatee
is related to the hydroclimatic period; during winter the manatee was found along the river in cienagas, carios
and rivers with more feeding availability and low levels of human alteration. During summer, the manatee was
found in the river, in the deep zones of the cienagas. The manatee continues to be hunted in the study zone and
is used as a protein source. The main factor that affects the viability of the population is indiscriminate hunting,
particularly of the most vulnerable animals, mothers and newborn calves. Hunting is an unsatisfactory activity
in the study zone and it will be necessary to implement management measures in the region to protect the
species.
-Dalila Caicedo-Herrera (Bi6loga Marina, Fundaci6n Omacha, Calle 86A No. 23 38, Bogota D.C.,
Colombia, Tel: 57 1 2362686, dalila@omacha.org, www.omacha.org)

EAST AFRICA
Monitoring the rare eastern African dugong: a methodological perspective. The dugong (Dugong
dugon) is probably the most endangered large mammal in eastern Africa, an area which marks the western-most
boundary of the species' global range. In 2001, in recognition of the need for effective management of dugongs
in the western Indian Ocean, Decision CP.3/4 of the third Conference of Parties of the Nairobi Convention


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requested regional and international organizations to facilitate the development of a regional initiative to protect
the dugong. In 2004, UNEP through the Nairobi Convention, with assistance from WWF and IUCN, published
a report on the status, distribution and conservation needs of dugongs in the southwest Indian Ocean region
(WWF EAME, 2004). The report underlined that dugongs are still present in the region (especially in
Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Aldabra in the Seychelles, Tanzania and Kenya), but in very low
numbers, and that the species still faces many threats, particularly bycatch in gillnets and poaching. Following
this preliminary regional dugong assessment, several organizations began collecting additional data on this
species. In Tanzania and Mayotte (French island of the Comoros, Mozambique Channel), data have been
collected to assess the occurrence, distribution and conservation status of dugongs from 2003 to 2008,
including: opportunistic live sightings (collected by divers, whale watching operators, ULM operators, etc.),
strandings, interviews with fishermen and other sea users, and data collected during systematic aerial surveys
(strip transect surveys). In Tanzania, the NGO SeaSense collected 35 opportunistic
sightings/strandings/catch/bycatch (from 2000 to 2004), 272 dugong records (incidental catch/sightings) from
interview surveys from local fishermen (questionnaire survey undertaken in 2003), and no sightings from
systematic aerial surveys (a single aerial survey in February 2006 in the Rufiji-Delta area). Around Mayotte,
several organisations/institutions (Direction de l'Agriculture et de la For6t, Office National de la Chasse et de la
Faune Sauvage and Conseil General de Mayotte) collected 73 opportunistic sightings/strandings (including 17
mother-calf pair sightings), 138 records (incidental catch/sightings) from interview surveys from local
fishermen, and 5 sightings from systematic aerial surveys. Aerial surveys covered all the lagonal waters and
insular slope waters until the 500-m isobath. One coverage was performed in 2005 and four in 2007-2008. 36
fishermen were interviewed in 2003 and 406 in 2007.
In both Tanzania and Mayotte, interview surveys provided the highest level of information, both on the
extent of bycatch as well as occurrence over time (1970's to present). Opportunistic sightings/stranding records
provided information on the occurrence of bycatch and documented reproduction (presence of mother-calf
pairs) in both areas. Aerial surveys provided very limited information on the distribution, abundance and status
of dugongs as sightings were very scarce. These findings indicate that interview surveys and the collation of
opportunistic records provide highly valuable information on the status and occurrence of dugongs in eastern
Africa, where dugongs are very rare and the capacity (financial and human) to conduct regular surveys is
limited. In conclusion, monitoring rare and elusive species, such as east African dugongs, should be undertaken
through multiple phases with the first being the implementation of a functional sighting/stranding network
(involving sea users), conducting interview surveys (past and present status) and, capacity permitting, and
carrying out quantitative aerial surveys where dugongs are regularly observed. This strategy allows for optimum
collection of data to assess the past and present occurrence of such rare and elusive species. -Jeremy Kiszka1'
2, Catharine Muir3 & Claire Pusineri4 (1 University of La Rochelle, LIENS S (Littoral, Environnement et
Societies UMR 6250 CNRS-Universite de La Rochelle. 2 rue Olympe de Gouges, 17000 La Rochelle, France.
2 Direction de l'Environnement et du Developpement Durable, Conseil General de Mayotte, BP 101, 97600
Mamoudzou, Mayotte.3 SeaSense, P.O. Box 105044, Dar Es Salam, Tanzania. 4 Office National de la Chasse et
de la Faune Sauvage, Cellule Technique Ocean Indien. BP47 97670 Coconi, Mayotte.)

References

WWF EAME, 2004. Towards a Western Indian Ocean Dugong Conservation Strategy: The Status of Dugongs
in the Western Indian Ocean Region and Priority Conservation Actions. WWF Eastern African Marine
Ecoregion, Dar es Salam, Tanzania. 68 pp.


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Capacity Building for Dugong Conservation in Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, Mozambique.
Dugong Aerial Survey Protocols, and Abundance Update. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is actively
engaging stakeholders in conservation planning and implementation for the Bazaruto Archipelago National
Park, (BANP) a marine park in the Inhambane province of Mozambique, east Africa. Several species of
regional and global importance are known to inhabit this area including dugongs (Dugong dugon). Various
reports have suggested that Western Indian Ocean dugongs may now remain in only small numbers in areas of
Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Seychelles, and the Comoros archipelago. Dugongs found in the
Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique are considered to be the only viable dugong population within the entire
Western Indian Ocean (Marsh et al. 2006, Dutton 1994, Pusineri et al. 2008). Cockcroft et al. (2008) reviewed
recent records and indicated that few dugongs occur elsewhere on the Mozambique coast. An aerial census in
May 2001 of the BANP and the eastern islands conducted by Mackie/WWF (2001) found small numbers of
dugongs distributed throughout the northern, central and south central areas of the Archipelago between
Bazaruto Island and the mainland. Reports of dugong abundance vary widely for this area. WWF (2004)
reviewed aerial counts between 1990 and 2002 with estimates of 20 to 130 individuals (Dutton 1998,
Guissamulo and Cockcroft 1997, Mackie, 1999) leading to the suggestion that the population is in decline.
Unfortunately, details of some of the earlier surveys are not clear in terms of methods, areal extent and
conditions, making comparison of animal numbers or trends very difficult to impossible.
In May 2008, WWF initiated what is proposed to be an annual systematic dugong monitoring program
for the BANP to assess general distribution and use within and nearby the park. This effort also involved
training local WWF staff to begin a regular aerial monitoring program for Mozambique's dugongs. The May
2008 aerial survey portion of the larger project combined skills of local Mozambicans including a WWF field
biologist (other duties include extensive interaction with the fishing communities and creel censuses), a WWF
community conservation educator (interacts with fishers, schools, and villages), a BANP park ranger, an Eduard
Mondlane University GIS specialist, a U.S.A. NASA manatee biologist (with many years of aerial survey
experience), a Mission Aviation Friendship pilot and aircraft, and the WWF coordinator for Mozambique. A
draft report was submitted to WWF in September 2008 that describes in detail the methods and outcome of the
2008 WWF surveys. The following is a brief summary based on that preliminary report which will be available
shortly.
Initial reconnaissance surveys and team training were performed from 23 26 May which allowed for
familiarization of conditions in the area, determination of realistic survey flight path and time periods,
preparation of observers including inclinometer use (for Distance sampling), and recorder for efficient data
collection and communication. A Cessna 206 aircraft provided the aerial platform and included a
communication system (headsets) to enhance communication efficiencies between the pilot and all team
members. The official surveys were performed over three days from 27-29 May and included the Indian Ocean
waters east of Bartolomeu Dias (S 21 deg 09 min) and south through the BANP to Cabo S. Sebastio (S 22 deg
13 min). The southern section originally included the shallow bay south of Vilanculos to Cabo S. Sebastio.
The total original flight path was over 640km with transect spacing intended to allow for survey completion
within a 4.5 hour period. The initial design was considered tentative depending on actual effort (air time,
observer fatigue, etc.) experienced in the preliminary reconnaissance and training flights.
The pilot was familiar with flight lines based on preflight briefings and utilized the PDA with GPS and
ArcPAD display for navigation along the predetermined flightpath. Survey data were recorded using ArcPad
also running on an 8 x 11 inch Scribbler (Compaq) computer tablet with a Bluetooth GPS and a customized
survey program (NASA/KSC manatee surveys). This "manatee entry form" eased the real time recording of
multiple sighting records. Observers were positioned in the two back seats and the recorder sat in front next to
the pilot. For fuel efficiency the aircraft carried only 4 people during the surveys. In the event the computer


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recording system failed (i.e. low battery, etc.), back up paper maps were onboard for scribing sightings and
adding GPS coordinates. The project effort focused on enumeration of dugongs but other information useful to
Park management and dugong conservation were also collected as appropriate (sea turtles, dolphins, boats and
fishing).
Data were analyzed using program DISTANCE version 5.0, release 2 (Thomas et al. 2006). The general
logic of the analysis was to estimate the density of dugong clusters by modeling the detection rates for sightings
as a function of distance. Abundance was calculated by multiplying the estimated cluster density by the
expected cluster size and the area of the study site.

Results
The final official flight path totaled 23 east-west transects with 22 north south legs, yielding a path
distance of 521 km. A total of 7.5 hours of aerial observation time were expended in reconnaissance-practice
sessions and the official surveys resulted in a total search effort of 10.57 hours.
Dugong sightings were highly variable with a total of 46 dugong groups comprising 218 dugongs during
the five day period. The dugong counts for the "official" surveys were: 9, 22, and 135 for each respective day
from May 27 through May 29 (30 sighting events). Observed densities were 0.02, 0.05, and 0.32 dugongs per
linear km, respectively. We estimated that 416 km2 were searched by observers, representing 24% of the 1749
km2 total area. Data screening indicated that 400m was an appropriate distance for right-truncation of the data;
this eliminated about 5% of the sightings from the analysis. Preliminary abundance estimates incorporated two
methods of estimation of cluster size. The size-biased regression method resulted in an abundance estimate for
the study site of 112 dugongs, with a 95% confidence interval of (53,237). Using the mean cluster size for all
groups seen within 400m of the adjusted centerline resulted in an abundance estimate of 463 dugongs with a
95% confidence interval of (155,1378). Size biased density was 0.06 dugongs per km2 and mean cluster related
density was 0.264 dugongs per km2.
Most dugongs were found in the north half of the study zone between Bazaruto Island and Bartolomeu
Dias. While dugongs were often sighted in the park, about 38% of the dugong sightings were outside of the
park boundaries. The largest single dugong group (over 70 individuals) was sighted in the northern end of the
study area near the Govuro and Inhassoro boundaries. This group was sighted within ca. 500 meters of a
fishing boat that was tending what appeared to be a shark net. These nets are large mesh tangle nets capable of
drowning dugongs and other air breathers.
Very few power and sail boats were observed and were associated with tourism. They were observed in
very localized areas within the park or the mainland near tourist businesses. Artisanal fishing boats, most under
sail power, were scattered throughout the bay. Many were supporting shore based net seining operations. The
vessels were often observed many hundreds of meters offshore of the mainland, shoals, or islands with seine
haulers back on shore with lines for each net end (5 or 6 people per end). These hauls were reported to require
about 5 hours of effort (L. Muaves/ WWF, pers. comm., May 2008). Fishers were spread well beyond the
shallow nearshore seining sites. Many of these sightings could have been traveling boats as we did not record
whether a boat was actively fishing or traveling. Shore based fish traps, or gamboas were historically set up for
long term use and were seen in 3-4 specific locations. We noticed that none of them appeared to be tended and
most did not have nets attached to the structure. There are reports that they are seldom used any more in this
region (H. Motta / WWF, pers. comm., May 2008).
Generally the numerous 2006-2007 surveys performed by Cockcroft and Guissamolo (2008) were
similar to the 2008 surveys reported here. Their area of coverage was smaller but closer in extent to our 2008
work. Their total counts of dugongs showed the same high variability we experienced but the maximum (69
dugongs) was well below our maximum count of 135. Their more extensive dataset resulted in an estimate of


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about 250 dugongs (global abundance of 247) which is within the range of our two estimates of 112 and 463.
Their densities (also using truncated distance data) ranged from 0.004 to 0.09 dugongs/ km2 as compared to our
two methods for the three survey days yielding 0.06 and 0.26 dugongs / km2.
Given that aerial surveys prior to 2006 were of varying methods, spatial scales, and timing, combined
with the reality of the high variability in dugong sightings between days in the BANP region, we cannot state
that dugongs are increasing but that the numbers are higher than previously reported in the literature. In
addition to current ecosystem stewardship policies, these recent observations should provide significant
motivation for Mozambique to continue implementation of protection for these animals and their habitats. Our
sighting of one large group of over 70 dugongs within close proximity of a local shark fishing net (outside of
the BANP) emphasized a lingering fishery related threat to local dugongs.
Dutton (2004) described what he believed to be a decline in dugongs in Mozambique. He reported that
the southernmost population of Africa's dugong at Inhaca, once numbering about 20, is extinct with small
numbers being reported at Inhambane. He also stated, based on interviews and visits, that the dugong was
extinct on Mozambique's northern coast. He stated that an intensification of large mesh gill-netting from 1976,
coupled with lack of law enforcement, was the principal cause of the decline of dugongs in Mozambique.
WWF has also expressed concerns for this species and associated habitats within the region. WWF reports a
particular concern regarding a predicted fisheries collapse due to overharvesting within the region. Several
corresponding problems could cascade from this including a) destruction of seagrass beds underlying netting
areas, reducing forage available to dugongs and turtles; b) direct entanglement of dugongs by netting
operations; and c) anticipated collapse of fishery with reduced productivity (catch) resulting in a revival of
human harvest of dugongs and sea turtles for local subsistence. If the Mozambique economy continues to
improve, providing education and conservation alternatives to coastal communities, the dugong population may
have a chance in this region.

Acknowledgements
Observers included Lara Mauves and Mario Fumo (WWF, Vilankulos), Thomas Chibate (Bazaruto
Archipeligo National Park), Helena Motta (WWF-Mozambique) and Jane Provancha (Dynamac-NASA, USA).
Recorders included Jose Rafael (UEM) and Jane Provancha. David LePoidevin (Mission Aviation Friendship)
Nampula, Mozambique provided excellent support in daily piloting. NASA KSC Life Science Services
contract (Dr. Carlton Hall and Doug Scheidt) supported the loan of manatee ArcPad software and custom data
entry form for this dugong project. Resa Cancro (Dynamac) provided guidance and support in data screening
and output development. Special thanks to the WWF staff at Maputo and Vilankulos for their hospitality,
perseverance and patience.

-Jane A Provancha Eric Stolen2 and Helena Motta3
(Dynamac Corporation, Suite 113, 7001 N. Atlantic Ave, Cape Canaveral, FL, USA1, Dynamac Corporation,
Life Sciences Services Kennedy Space Center, FL, USA 328992, World Wildlife Fund, Rua Dom Joao VII,
Maputo, Mozambique3).

References

Cockcroft, V., A. Guissamulo, and K. Findlay. 2008. Dugongs (Dugong dugon) of the Bazaruto Archipelago,
Mozambique, January. 2008.


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Dutton, T.P. 1994. Past and present status of dugong in the Bazaruto Archipelago and other known habitats on
the Mozambique Coast. Report for the DNFFB, 1: 3 pp. First International Manatee and Dugong Research
Conference. Gainesville, Florida.

Dutton, T.P. 1998. East African dugongs disappearing. Sirenews No. 29. lp.

Dutton, P. 2004. Dugong Population Trends in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, Mozambique, 1990-
2003. Sirenews 41, April 2004, pp. 12-14

Guissamelo, A., and V. Cockcroft. 1997. Aerial survey of dugong in the Bazaruto Archipelago. Report for the
DNFFB.

Mackie, C. S. Guissamelo, D. Nhantumbo, and C. Bento 2001. Aerial Census of Dugongs, Dolphins, and
Turtles in the Bazaruto National Park, Mozambique: May, 2001. Eastern African Marine Ecoregion Programme
WWF Project No: MZ0006, Report 1: 12 pp.,WWF SARPO, P 0 Box CY1409, Causeway Harare, Zimbabwe

Mackie, C.S., A. Correia, S. Magane, and L. Zivane. 1999. Aerial census of dugongs, dolphins and turtles in
the proposed Greater Bazaruto National Park, Mozambique. WWF Project No. MZ0006. Report 1: 6 pp.
Marsh, H. H. Penrose, C. Eros, and J. Hugues 2006. Dugong Status Report and Action Plans for Countries and
Territories Compiled by: HELENE MARSH, Action Plan Coordinator, IUCN/SSC Sirenia Specialist Group,
HELEN Marsh- Compiler, UNEP/DEWA/RS.02-1 ISBN 92-807-2130-5

Pusineri, C., Kiszka, J and Muir, C, 2008. The dugong in eastern Africa: balancing on the brink. Sirenews No.
49, April, 2008.

GUATEMALA
First orphan manatee calf (Trichechus manatus manatus) recovered in Guatemala and transported to
Belize for rehabilitation. The Antillean Manatee is considered "Endangered" (IUCN, 2008) in danger of
extinction throughout its range in the Caribbean, due in part to illegal hunting in many areas. This includes the
Lake Izabal area of Guatemala, identified as one of the most important areas for manatees in Guatemala
(Quintana-Rizzo 1993, 2005a,b), where human impacts are increasingly affecting the small population of
manatees in the area. Manatee meat is illegally sold in some markets along the Atlantic Coast of Guatemala,
despite the fact that manatees have been protected since 1959 and the Protected Areas legislation of Guatemala,
which has a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of approximately US$1,320 to US$2,640 for
individuals who collect or sell parts of this species. Manatees are further protected by the Fisheries legislation,
with fines ranging from between US$1,055 and US$10,555.
Hunting, fishing and boat collisions all take a toll on the manatee population throughout its range, and
result in cases such as this the recovery of a calf, Guatecita, whose mother may well have been killed for meat.
The calf, however, survived and is currently being rehabilitated for eventual release back into the wild.
On July 12, Guatecita was found entangled in a fishing net in Lake Izabal by a local fisherman, with no
indication of the fate of the mother. The calf was transported to a swimming pool located at the Pataxte Ranch,
owned by INDESA (Lake Izabal), a major palm oil producing company, who called Fundaci6n Defensores de la
Naturaleza (FDN), a non-profit organization involved in manatee research, to notify them of the rescued calf.
Staff from the foundation visited the ranch to check the calf s condition she appeared healthy, and based on
her size (123 cm) and weight (68 pounds), was estimated to be approximately one month old, This is the first


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time that an orphan manatee has been rescued in Guatemala, and external technical support was sought to keep
the calf alive, ensuring that she was provided the right diet and maintenance conditions. However, whilst she
gained some weight during the three weeks in which she was at the Pataxte Ranch, the weight gained was not
proportional to her size and estimated age. Coupled with the problems of low weight gain, resulting in rapid fat
loss, she also developed buoyancy issues linked to intestinal issues. Feeding became complicated by a sore that
developed on the upper gum. Guatemala does not currently have the technical personnel and facilities for the
rehabilitation of large marine mammals such as the manatee, and the financial support needed to do this type of
rehabilitation was lacking. With increasing awareness of the need for intensive care, the complexities of
stabilizing the small manatee calf, and the requirement for a heavy input of human resources, three weeks after
being rescued, the Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) decided to transfer her to Belize, to the
Manatee Rehabilitation Centre. The Centre, established under the Belize Marine Mammal Stranding Network to
cope specifically with situations such as this, is managed by Wildtracks, a Belize conservation organization,
which has successfully rehabilitated several other manatee calves in the past, returning them to the wild
population.
On August 2, following a bi-national process to ensure CITES permits were in order, Guatecita was
transported by plane to Sarteneja, a small coastal community in northeast Belize, and the location of Wildtracks
and the Rehabilitation Centre. With the rapid fat loss and increasing intestinal issues, NGOs and government
departments in both Guatemala and Belize worked together to facilitate the process, ensuring rapid completion
of the paperwork a demonstration of the international collaboration that can occur between neighboring
countries for the survival and conservation of threatened species.
Following her arrival, the first priority for the Wildtracks crew was to stabilize the calf, a task
complicated by the very sensitive, open wound on the upper gum, preventing Guatecita from drinking easily
from the bottle. Even after a month at the Rehabilitation Centre, the gum was still causing issues, though the
healing process itself was relatively rapid. The calf also continued to have gut issues, gradually being resolved
over time, though still causing occasional discomfort. However, Guatecita has settled into her new home,
responding well to her caregivers a team of dedicated volunteers from both Belize and abroad who have put
their time and effort into ensuring she receives the care she requires for a full recovery.
It is, however, still a long haul from here to complete recovery and rehabilitation. She has grown to
129cms, and now weighs 921bs... she will be closer to 5001bs when the decision will be made about when she
will be ready to be released back into the wild a two-year investment to ensure that we take even the small
steps we can towards maintaining the viability of this species in the long term. With only 150 manatees
estimated to be left in Guatemala, every individual counts.
Technical support has been provided by Dr. Dave Murphy (Lowry Park Zoo), Dr. Mike Walsh
(University of Florida), Dr. Greg Bossart (Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute), Dr. Antonio Mignucci-
Giannoni (Puerto Rico Manatee Center), Dr. Rodrigo L6pez (The Dallas World Aquarium), Daryl Richardson
(The Dallas World Aquarium), and Bob Bonde (USGS-Sirenia Project).
Transport from Guatemala to Belize was facilitated by Ester Quintana (FDN), Oscar Machuca (FDN),
and Kurt Duchez (CONAP). The paperwork preparation and logistical and financial support involved with the
transport was provided by several organizations (INDESA, FDN, CONAP, Belize Forest Department, BAHA,
Wildtracks, Wildlife Trust Belize, and the Belize and Guatemala International Airports).
Financial support for the rehabilitation of Guatecita in Guatemala has been provided by INDESA,
Fundaci6n Defensores de la Naturaleza, CONAP, The Dallas World Aquarium, and Autoridad para el Manejo
Sustentable de la Cuencia Hidrografica del Lago de Izabal y Rio Dulce. In Belize, Wildlife Trust (partly funded
by The Nature Conservancy) and Save the Manatee Club have contributed towards maintenance costs for the


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rehabilitation process, and Oak Foundation has provided a grant towards the reconstruction of the lagoon
enclosure destroyed last year by Hurricane Dean.
And last, but by no means least, is the team of Wildtracks volunteers who responded to the call for
assistance issued through marine mammal networks in the US and UK. Paul and Zoe Walker, directors of
Wildtracks, and their assistant managers, Kate and Adam Lloyd; the Global Vision International Volunteers
Hannah Palmer, Szilvia Bartalos and Alistair Dawson, who stepped in, in the critical days following Guatecita's
arrival at the Wildtracks facilities; Ruby Vasquez and Grecia Mendez, students from Belize willing to dedicate
their spare days to manatee care; and Mika Ogilvie, Mary Odermatt, Lynda Green and Mayuko Otsaki... the
first of many volunteers who have signed up for one month placements to assist in the rehabilitation of this
charismatic individual. -Ester Quintana and Oscar Machuca (Fundaci6n Defensores de la Naturaleza,
Guatemala, tetequintana@comcast.net) and Zoe Walker (Wildtracks, Belize)

References

IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org

Quintana-Rizzo, E. 1993. Estimaci6n de la distribuci6n y el tamafio poblacional del manati Trichechus manatus
(Trichechidae-Sirenia) en Guatemala. Lic. Tesis. Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. 80 p.

Quintana-Rizzo, E. 2005a. Estudio sin6ptico de la distribuci6n y abundancia relative del manati (Trichechus
manatus) en el Golfo de Honduras en el period de Mayo-Junio 2005. Report Tecnico para el Comitato
Internazionale per lo Sviluppo del Popoli (CISP). Junio 2005. 33 p.

Quintana-Rizzo, E. 2005b. Distribuci6n y numero de manaties (Trichechus manatus manatus) utilizando la
Costa Atlantica de las aguas guatemaltecas. Estudio sin6ptico. Report Tecnico. Universidad de la Florida del
Sur. Abril. 2005. 18 p.


Guatecita waiting to be fed by one of caretakers in Finca INDESA, Guatemala. (Photo taken July 20, 2008)


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Part of the technical team that took care of Guatecita in Guatemala. From left to right: Arnoldo Caal
(Fundaci6n Defensores de la Naturaleza), Arnoldo Tiul (INDESA), Jose Cucul Choc (INDESA), Oscar Chub
Coc (INDESA), Oscar Sam Caal (INDESA) y Oscar Machuca (Defensores de la Naturaleza).


Ester Quintana & Oscar Machuca assisting Guatecita during her trip.


Sarteneja: Wildtrack team was ready and waiting for Guatecita to arrive!


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The saga of "Guatecita". On the edge of a sleepy lagoon in Sarteneja, Belize, bordering on a lush
tropical forest, is the most unlikely rehabilitation facility for orphaned and injured manatees.
That facility is "Wildtracks" a non-profit run by an extraordinary couple, Zoe and Paul Walker. The
Walkers not only care for manatees in distress, but are also active in Belizian conservation, writing management
plans for the future as well as influencing preservation of the natural biodiversity in Belize.
There are two critical care pools situated on 28 acres of land which sit on ancient Mayan ruins.
Wherever one walks, one can see Mayan pottery shards and tools made from shells and stone.
The newest patient at Wildtracks is a four month old West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus).
Found in a fishing net in Lago Isabal Lagoon in Guatemala, this Antillean manatee is called "Guatecita" or
"Little Guatemala". The manatee population there is only about 150 individuals, probably due to poaching.
Not having the capacity for the intensive care that she would require, with the cooperation of the governments
of both Guatemala and Belize, Guatecita was flown in style by airplane to Sarteneja and the Wildtracks facility.
When she arrived at Wildtracks, it was estimated that she was about two or three months old. She
weighed 68 lbs. and was thin and lethargic. Taking care of a baby manatee is very labor intensive, requiring
bottle-feeding every two hours by Zoe, Paul and very dedicated volunteers.
My mission was to help care for her. I boarded the plane with two 5-lb bags of Esbilac formula as well
as a manatee toy I'd made consisting of a small buoy attached to a long thick rope. "Tenacity" would be the
one word to describe a good caretaker. One must want to do anything it takes to ensure the survival of an
animal irrespective of the mosquito bites and the long hours. This is not too difficult with a calf since it's
important to do a lot of bonding, unlike other marine mammals which usually have a hands-off policy.
Guatecita showed a little bit of interest in the buoy toy but her most favorite thing was sucking on my toes. The
stronger she got, the stronger she would suck.
It's now two months later, she weighs 92 lbs. and, although she suffers from constipation which we hope
is temporary, she is gaining weight and is more active. Following a risk assessment, she will go to the lagoon
enclosure until she is ready for release to reintegrate into the wild population.
When there is an animal in distress, the Manatee Community comes together to help. So many people
have assisted in the rescue and care of Guatecita from international assistance of veterinarians, to various non-
profit organizations to the "tenacious" volunteers who have given their time. Thanks to all and especially
thanks from Guatecita. -Lynda Green (greenlynda@mac.com)

QATAR
Conserving Qatar's dugongs. In 2007, the State of Qatar started work on an ambitious National
Dugong Conservation Initiative (NDCI). The first phase of this initiative was recently completed, under the
supervision of Qatar's Ministry of Environment, and generously funded by Dolphin Energy Ltd. The other
partners on the project were the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) and Five Oceans Environmental Services LLC.
Qatar, situated on a peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, lies in the centre of the range of the world's second
largest population of dugongs. As there had been no research on dugongs in Qatar since Tony Preen's surveys in
1986 (Preen 2004), the initial phase of the NDCI used a combination of methods to gain an overview of the
current situation gathering information on the current status of dugongs and their habitat in Qatari waters;
raising awareness for dugong conservation; and training Ministry of Environment staff. To this end, we ran
aerial surveys; conducted beach surveys for stranded animals and collected samples from animals found;
interviewed fishers and set up a GIS for use with dugong-related data. Training the Ministry of Environment
staff was integral to each facet of data collection and analysis.
Aerial surveys over Qatari waters of 10m depth or less were run using helicopters generously provided
by the QEAF's helicopter wing. Over four days of aerial surveys, eight groups of dugongs were observed,


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totaling at least 25 individuals. We also saw six groups of dolphins of two species, as well as turtles and rays.
Survey results were comparable with those derived in approximately the same survey blocks over twenty years
previously, although surveyed in a different season (Preen 2004).
Beach surveys located six dugong carcasses, as well as five carcasses of dolphins of three species; and
five turtle carcasses of three species. Several fresh dugongs, dolphins and turtles were discovered in a relatively
short period of time (although a quantitative estimate of mortality could not be estimated from our short survey
period). Most of the fresh dugong carcasses were found in an area with several fishing camps. This indicates
that marine megafauna are suffering regular mortality in the area and, based on fisher interview data, at least
some of this is related to fishing.
Results of the initial phase of Qatar's NDCI suggest that currently, there is a threat to dugongs from
fisheries indicated by beach surveys and fisher interviews, but that mortality due to fisheries is not so
substantial that it cannot be managed suggested by the aerial survey results. This result demonstrates the value
of combining techniques to maximize a programme's contribution to conservation and management.
Currently, the second phase of the NDCI is being developed, aimed at continuing and building on the
successes of the first phase of the Initiative. A draft of the report on the NDCI is available as a pdf from Peter
Corkeron or Robert Baldwin (emails below).
The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. We thank our colleagues in Qatar's NDCI for their
encouragement, assistance and support: Khalid Ahmed Al Obaidly from Dolphin Energy Ltd; Wing
Commander Khalif Al Naimi from the QEAF for supporting the aerial survey; and Oliver Taylor, Fergus
Kennedy and Fareed Al-Abdali from Five Oceans Environmental. -Peter Corkeron
(peter.corkeron@gmail.com), Robert Baldwin (wosoman@gmail.com), Mohammad Abdelmoati
(mamoati@qatarenv.org.qa), Mohammad Al-Rumaihi (marumaihi@qatarenv.org.qa), Yousef Al-Hamar
(yihamar@qatarenv.org.qa), Ghanem Abdullah Mohamed (gamohammad@qatarenv.org.qa), Khalid Al-
Enzi (khenzi@qatarenv.org.qa), Rola Atiyeh (Rola.Atiyeh@dolphinenergy.com) and Marcus Chandler
(marcus.chandler@dolphinenergy.com)

References
Preen, A. 2004. Distribution, abundance and conservation status of dugongs and dolphins in the southern and
western Arabian Gulf.
Biological Conservation 118: 205-218.

ABSTRACTS

ARE ORGANIC CONTAMINANTS A CONSERVATION THREAT TO ENDANGERED MANATEES?
EL Pulster'; DL Wetzel'; JE Reynolds III2; 1 Mote Marine Laboratory, Center for Ecotoxicology; 2Mote Marine Laboratory, Center
for Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are considered potential threats to wildlife due to their high affinity to lipids,
environmental persistence, and tendency to bioaccumulate over time. The POPs tend to also accumulate in estuarine and coastal
marine environments, which are essential habitats for many protected species, such as the endangered West Indian manatee
(Trichechus manatus). Like most other marine mammals, manatees' anatomical and life history attributes allow the species to serve
as excellent sentinels of environmental and human health threats. Because manatees are herbivorous (i.e., at a low trophic level), it
has been assumed by some scientists and managers that the species is less vulnerable to organic contaminants. To fully understand
and mitigate potential threats to manatees, this assumption should be challenged. Our study analyzed blubber samples collected from
recently deceased manatees found along the southwestern coast of Florida. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine
pesticides (OCPs), polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were analyzed using dual column
gas chromatography with electron capture detection (Agilent Technologies 7890A) and mass spectrometry (Agilent Technologies
5975C). PCB congener patterns were distinctly different from those of marine mammals occupying higher trophic levels (i.e.,


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dolphins). Although POP levels in manatees were generally lower than those reported for some other marine mammals, those levels
were still sufficient to cause concern, especially since the metabolic capacity and threshold levels for adverse effects in the former are
unknown. We believe that further research and monitoring of contaminants in West Indian manatees from different locations will help
ensure that threats to this endangered species are properly identified and mitigated.

LaCommare, K.S.*, C. Self-Sullivan, and S. Brault. 2008. DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT USE OF ANTILLEAN
MANATEES (Trichechus manatus manatus) IN THE DROWNED CAYES AREA OF BELIZE, CENTRAL AMERICA. Aquatic
Mammals 34(1):35-43. *University of Massachusetts, Boston, Department of Biology, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125,
USA: email: kslacommarel@hotmail.com
Belize, Central America, has long been recognized as a stronghold for Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) in
the Caribbean (O'Shea & Salisbury, 1991). The Drowned Cayes area, in particular, has been noted as an important habitat (Bengston
& Magor, 1979; O'Shea & Salisbury, 1991; Auil, 1998, 2004; Morales-Vela et al., 2000). It is critical to evaluate habitat use and the
relative importance of different habitat types within these cayes because this area is increasingly impacted by human activities (Auil,
1998). The two research objectives for this paper are (1) to document manatee distribution within the Drowned Cayes, Swallow Caye,
and Gallows Reef, and (2) to examine habitat use patterns in order to identify habitat characteristics influencing the probability of
sighting a manatee. Binary logistic regression was used to examine whether the probability of sighting a manatee varied in relation to
several habitat variables. The probability of sighting a manatee across all points was 0.31 per scan (n = 795). Habitat category,
seagrass category, and habitat category interaction with resting hole were the most important variables explaining the probability of
sighting a manatee. The Drowned Cayes area clearly constitutes a manatee habitat area. Seagrass flats and cove habitats with resting
holes were especially important habitat characteristics.

Sousa-Lima, R.S.*, A.P. Paglia, and G.A.B. da Fonseca. 2008. GENDER, AGE, AND IDENTITY IN THE ISOLATION CALLS
OF ANTILLEAN MANATEES (Trichechus manatus manatus). Aquatic Mammals 34(1): 109-122. *Bioacoustics Research
Program, Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850; email: rs132@cornell.edu

Empirical evidence of individual vocal recognition has been reported for the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) and
the West Indian manatee (T. manatus). Underwater vocalizations of 15 Antillean manatees (T. m. manatus) were recorded to verify if
this subspecies also conveys individual information through their calls. The isolation calls selected for analysis were digitized to
measure eight different variables. Individual vocal patterns were analyzed within two age classes (calves and others) and between
sexes. Discriminant function analysis for each age class grouped vocalizations by individual, based on variables related to the
fundamental frequency and call duration. Female calls were longer in duration and presented a higher fundamental frequency but
lower peak frequency values than males. Calves had significantly higher values for all eight acoustic variables measured with respect
to frequency and time. Higher values for all frequency parameters in calf calls and the inverse relationship between total body length
and peak frequency suggests that younger, smaller animals emit higher frequency sounds. Furthermore, higher values obtained for the
fundamental frequency range of calves and the inverse relationship of this variable with total body length suggest that the fundamental
frequency becomes more defined as the animal ages. Vocal learning and genetic inheritance are discussed based on the analyses of
vocal patterns among related individuals. In addition to facilitating individual recognition as a possible factor in Antillean manatee
social interactions, vocal identity provides a potential means of estimating the size and structure of sirenian populations.

RECENT LITERATURE

Bossart, G.D. 2007. Emerging diseases in marine mammals: From dolphins to manatees.
Microbe 2(11):544-549.

Daley, B., Griggs, P. and Marsh, H. 2008. Exploiting marine wildlife in Queensland: the commercial dugong
and marine turtle fisheries, 1847-1969. Australian Economic History Review. see
http://dugong.id.au/publications/JournalPapers/

Dobbs, K., Fernandes, L., Slegers, S., Jago, B., Thompson, L., Hall, L., Day, J., Cameron, D., Tanzer, J.,
Macdonald, F., Marsh, H., and Coles, R. 2008. Incorporating dugong habitats into the marine protected area
design for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Queensland, Australia. Ocean and Coastal Management 51: 368-
37. see http://dugong.id.au/publications/JoumalPapers/


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Garrigue, C., Patenaude, N. & Marsh, H. 2008. Distribution and abundance of the dugong in New Caledonia,
southwest Pacific Marine Mammal Science. Marine Mammal Science 24:71-80. see
http://dugong.id.au/publications/JournalPapers/

Grech, A., and Marsh, H. 2008. Rapid assessment of risks to a mobile marine mammal in an ecosystem-scale
marine protected area. Conservation Biology 22: 711-720.
see http://dugong.id.au/publications/JoumalPapers/

Grech, A., Marsh, H. and Coles, R. 2008. Using spatial risk assessment to evaluate and address the problem of
marine mammal bycatch. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosysems. Published online in Wiley
InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/aqc.943
see http://dugong.id.au/publications/JoumalPapers/

Hermanussen, S.; V. Matthews; 0. Papke; C. J. Limpus and C. Gaus. 2008. Flame retardants (PBDEs) in
marine turtles, dugongs and seafood from Queensland, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 57(6-12):409-418.

Ilangakoon, A.D., D. Sutaria, E. Hines, and R. Raghavan. 2008. Community interviews on the status of the
dugong (Dugong dugon) in the Gulf of Mannar (India and Sri Lanka). Marine Mammal Science 24(3): 704-710.

Marsh, H. 2008. Marine mammals. In Hutchings. P., Kingsford, M. and Hoegh Guldberg, 0. A Field Guide to the
Great Barrier Reef. CSIRO Publishing.
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Marsh, H. & Kwan, D. 2008. Temporal variability in the life history and reproductive biology of female
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Morales-Vela, B.; E. Suarez-Morales; J. Padilla-Saldivar and R.W. Heard. 2008. The tanaid Hexapleomera
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Rodrigues, F. R.; V. M. F. da Silva; J. F. M. Barcellos and S. M. Lazzarini. 2008. Reproductive anatomy of the
female Amazonian manatee Trichechus inunguis Natterer, 1883 (Mammalia: Sirenia). Anatomical Record:
Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 291(5):557-564.

Sheppard, J.K., Carter, A.B., Len J. McKenzie, L.J., Pitcher, C.R., and Coles, R.G. 2008.
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Sheppard, A., Jones, R., Marsh, H. and Lawler, I. R. (in press). Effects of tidal and diel cycles on dugong
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Stavros, H. W.; R. K. Bonde and P. A. Fair. 2008. Concentrations of trace elements in blood and skin of
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Takahashi, E. M.; K. E. Arthur and G. R. Shaw. 2008. Occurrence of okadaic acid in the feeding grounds of
dugongs (Dugong dugon) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Moreton Bay, Australia. Harmful Algae
7(4):430-437.

Tripp, K.M., J.P. Verstegen, C.J. Deutsch, R.K. Bonde, M. Rodriguez, B. Morales, D.L. Schmitt, and K.E. Harr.
2008. Validation of a serum immunoassay to measure progesterone and diagnose pregnancy in the West Indian
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Theriogenology 70(7): 1030-1040.














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