Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099157/00057
 Material Information
Title: Sirenews newsletter of the IUCNSSC Sirenia Specialist Group
Portion of title: Siren news
Physical Description: v. : ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: 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
Creation Date: October 2011
Publication Date: 04-2012
Frequency: two no. a year[apr. 1984-]
Subjects / Keywords: Sirenia -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Marine mammals -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
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
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
System ID: UF00099157:00057


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UNION INTERNATIONALE POUR LA CONSERVATION DE LA NATURE ET DE SES RESSOURCES INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES Commission de la sauvegarde des especes Species Survival Commission Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) is published in April and October and is edited by Cynthia R. Taylor, EcoHealth Alliance, 233 Third St. N., Suite 300, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA and James A. Powell, PhD, Sea to Shore Alliance, 200 Se cond Ave. S., #315, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA Sirenews is available online at www.sirenian.org/sirenews.html April 2007 IN THIS ISSUE 15 MAY DEADLINE FOR SSG MEMB ERSHIP NOMINATIONS (pg. 2) LOCAL NEWS FROM BELIZE, BRAZIL, CUBA, MALAYSIA, MYANMAR, AND NEW CALEDONIA UPDATE FROM THE SIRENIA SPEC IALIST GROUP CO-CHAIRS: REORGANIZATION OF THE GROUP AND REQUEST FOR MEMBERSHIP NOMINATIONS In February 2012, we attended a meeting of the IUCN Specialist Group Chairs in Abu Dhabi. We learned that there were lots of different mode ls for Specialist Groups. The most appropriate model depends on the geographic range of the group and its role(s). Some groups act largely as listing authorities; others effectively wo rk as NGOs with paid officers. We have decided that it woul d be appropriate to trial a new model for the Sirenia Specialist Group (SSG). 2012 coincides with th e IUCN’s quadrennial cycle, ma king it an appropriate time to dissolve and re-establish the membership. The Marine Turtle Specialist Group seems an appropriate model. The Ma rine Turtle Specialist Group is a volunteer network of more than 210 expert members in over 70 countries and territories. These volunteer members contribute a wide range of geographic and thematic expertise to the group, making the group the global authority on marine turtle research a nd conservation. Marine Turtle Specialist Group members are appoin ted to the group after being nomin ated, invited and agreeing to join. There are two co-chairs plus a number of regional vice-chairs. In addition, member s are grouped by country. Sire news Newsletter of the IUCN Sirenia Specialist Group Apri l 2012 Funded by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission Number 5 7


Sirenews No. 57 2 April 2012 We decided that it would be appropriate to m odify this model for the Sirenia Specialist Group as follows: 1. Co-Chairs (one each for dugong and manatee; prefer ably resident in a dugong/manatee range state). Benjamin Morales is prepared to serve as the Manatee Co-Chair for a second term which will provide continuity. Donna Kwan has ag reed to become the Dugong Co-Chair. 2. Regional Vice-Chairs (one each for East Africa, Arabian Region, Asia, Australia, Pacific, US, Meso-America, South America and West Africa). Regional Vice-Chairs should preferably be resident in their region. The Co-Cha irs are not eligible to be regional vice-chair s. Alternatively, the South American sirenian community might li ke to decide on two gr oups, one for each of their species. A Regional Vice-Chair will be exp ected to work to identify issues of concern, provide an annual regional report to Sirenews and to work with the Co-Chairs to develop strategies (including funding) for dea ling with critical issues or needs. 3. A Listing Authority Cyndi Taylor has agreed to continue in this role. 4. Sirenews Co-Editors Cyndi Taylor and Buddy Powell have ag reed to continue in this role. 5. Convenors biennial workshop : Bob Bonde and Nicole Adimey. 6. Members. The criteria for membership would normally include an advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in a relevant discipline, as well as at leas t three years of experien ce in sirenian research and/or management. However, it would be useful for each regional group to appoint 1-2 people as members of the SSG who have not worked on the species in that particular region to ensure new perspectives a nd potential solutions. 7. The Executive Committee of the Group will be made up of the Co-Chairs, Regional ViceChairs, the Listing Authority, the Editor of Sirenews and the workshop convenors The CoChairs may decide to co-opt up to two additional members to the Executive Committee who have a long-term, big-picture perspective and a track record for making things happen. The CoChairs and Regional Vice-Chairs will serve for up to two terms (8 year s) in succession in a single role. Regular and well-conceived su ccession will help keep the group robust. In the spirit of this reorga nization, a West African manatee s ub-group has recently been formed under the SSG. The goals of this s ub-group are to be able to further determine the status of the West African Manatee, to be an expert resource panel for the IUCN and ot her stakeholders, and to lead and advise others in the growing fiel d of manatee research and manageme nt in Africa. The subgroup also aims to promote and facilitate communication and collaboration among African manatee researchers. Inaugural members of the West African manatee s ubgroup are: Lucy Keith Di agne (Co-Regional Vice-Chair), Edem Eniang (Co-Regional Vice-Chair), Patrick Ofori-Dansen James Powell, and Aristide Kamla. We call for nominees for the membership of the SSG for the 2013-16 quadrennial cycle. Nominees should complete the form at http://www.locus-nq.net/iucnssg/form by 15 May 2012 The members of the West African chapter need not reapply but it would be helpful if they filled in the form to aid in administ rative housekeeping. -Helene Marsh and Benjamin Morales


Sirenews No. 57 3 April 2012 NEWS FROM THE SECRETARIAT TO THE UNEP/CMS DUGONG MOU S.O.S: ‘Save Our Sirenians Dugongs and West African Manatees’ event announces launch of the Dugong, Seagrass and Coastal Communities Initiative As part of the Dugong MOU’s commitment to fac ilitate national level and trans-boundary actions leading to the conservation of dugong populations and their habitats, a new global initiative has been designed to help by addressing some of th e key threats in an innovative way. The Dugong, Seagrass and Coastal Communities Initiative is an international program of cons ervation measures aimed at increasing protection of dugong populations and th eir seagrass habitats through tail ored plans which promote local environmental stewardship through trialing alternativ e livelihood, sustainable development assistance in potentially accessing wider trade markets. The new initiative was rolled out before invite d members of the local business, academic and conservation communities in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on the evening of February 26, 2012. The event was well attended and featured talks from Dr. Thabit Za hran Al Abdessalaam, Executive Director of the Marine and Terrestrial Biodivers ity Sector, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi; Dr. Donna Kwan, UNEP/CMS Dugong Programme Officer; Professor He lene Marsh; and Dr. Nicolas J. Pilcher (UNEP/CMS Dugong MOU Technical Advisors). Two s hort films were also showcased at the event: West African Manatee under Threat made by Wetlands International and Going…Going…Dugong produced by Reef Watch Marine Co nservation in association with UNEP/CMS Office Abu Dhabi and Marine Research Foundation, Malaysia. With the dugong as a flagship spec ies, the initiative aims to retu rn broad ecological and financial benefits in areas where both dugongs and local communitie s are in need of assistance. Projects will be located across range states, primarily in the Southw est Indian Ocean, Western Pacific Islands, and South and Southeast Asia. Educational and knowledge transfer tools will be used to increase awareness and facilitate access to vital information on dugong populat ions and seagrass habita ts. Pilot projects are already underway in Mozambique and Papua New Guin ea, and a first trans-boundary pilot project has been planned between India and Sri Lanka. Prelimin ary baseline data collecti on in the form of dugong catch surveys taken by local fishers is also ongoing in many of the pr oject locations, and will provide vital information for identifying priority sites. Attendees at the event were introduced to vari ous levels of reflection emphasizing the biological background and conservation status of sirenians and the range of threats they face. The importance of the dugong’s seagrass habitats to commercial fisheries and other species as well as their va luable role in the sequestration of marine carbon was highlighted. After the final talk of the event, a number of questions were raised by the audience for all speaker s on stage to provide answer s. Attendees were then invited to consider becoming a strategi c funding partner to the Initiative. The event was widely covered in several UAE ne wspapers that showed sp ecial interest in the event, some of which are read throughout the Ar abian Gulf region and be yond. In addition, the event was reported in many online news sources and a local television channel.


Sirenews No. 57 4 April 2012 Dr. Donna Kwan, Prof. Helene Marsh and Dr. Thabit Zahran Al Abdessalaam taking questions at the S.O.S. event (photograph by UNEP/CMS Office Abu Dhabi). Sri Lanka Becomes 21st Signatory to the Dugong MOU Sri Lanka has pledged its support to the long-term survival of dugongs and the protection of their cr itical seagrass habitats by becoming a signatory state to the Dugong MOU on January 31, 2012. In Sri Lanka, the UNEP/CMS Office Abu Dhabi is currently working with the Department of Wildlife Conservation, IUCN Sri Lanka and Dilmah Conservation to conduct surveys which will improve knowledge of dugong distribution, abundance, and ‘hotspots’ of main threats particul arly from incidental captures by net fisheries. More projects are pl anned under the new initiative, as outlined above. It is hoped that other countries in the South Asia subregion will join India and now Sri Lanka by formally joining the Dugong MOU in due course. Second Signatory State Meeting of the Dugong MOU (SS2) to take place later this year The Secretariat is in the proce ss of making arrangements for SS2, and, subject to confirmation, the m eeting is likely to take place towards the end of 2012 with the Philippines as host country. Formal notification will be releas ed on the CMS website soon. For more information on the work of the dugong MOU, please visit http://www.cms.int/species/dugong/index.htm Banner for the S.O.S. event (courtesy of Mandy Etpison)


Sirenews No. 57 5 April 2012 SIRENIAN INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCES NEW LIBRARIAN Sirenian International (SI) has announced a new vol unteer librarian who will maintain and update the online Sirenian and Desmostylian Bibliogr aphy Project housed on the SI website at www.sirenian.org/biblio/. Jaime Goldman has recently joined the SI Board of Directors as Librarian and will work with Dr. Daryl Domning and Dr. Car yn Self-Sullivan to rapidly update the bibliography with new literature citations and ad d missing citations as they are iden tified. The bibliography is the result of a lifetime of work by Dr. Domning and provides a comprehensive database of sirenian citations. If you have additio ns or revisions for the bibliography please submit them to librarian@sirenian.org along with a PD F of the article which will be hous ed in the SI archive. LOCAL NEWS BELIZE Update on manatee conservation efforts in Belize. The Belize Manatee Conservation Project is a joint effort of Sea to Shore Alliance (S2S), the Coasta l Zone Management Authority & Institute (CZMAI) together with many national and inte rnational partners. The report of strandings along the coastal zone of Belize from 2005-2010, which includes the update on ma natees in rehabilitation, is available online at http://public.sea2shore.org/news_room/publications. Th e report highlights the increase in mortality over five years, and explains the main causes of death, th e most significant being wate rcraft collisions. As a result of the increase in strandi ngs, the Belize Port Authority (BPA) ha s been working closely with us to address the high speed boating situat ion. The area where these deaths have been occurring, the Belize River, has now been approved as a “No Wake Zone” and ”Manatee Area”. The BPA has also agreed to assist in the monitoring and enforc ement of signage compliance. We are very grateful that Save the Manatee Club has donated signs in this much needed effort. The orphaned calf “Twiggy", which has been in reha bilitation for almost three years at the Belize Manatee Rehabilitation Centre, is doing very well. She is in "s oft release", the last stage of rehabilitation. She is still superv ised and has supplemental feed, but is free to come and go. As her release date isn't finalized, she is brought into the lagoon enclosure (a fenced-off part of the lagoon) each evening and fed a blended mix of banana and water hyacinth leaves, then each morning she is released back out into the lagoon. While she is still provided some supplemental food, she is actually self-reliant and capable of feeding herself. She has been fitted with a VHF tag so we now have a better understanding of how she uses the lagoon, which will he lp Wildtracks with the rehabilitation of other calves in the future. “Duke”, a juvenile animal found emaciated in a canal near to the Belize River, has been making strides in the right dire ction and looks much better than wh en he came in to captivity in January. He is still being tube fed, but occasionally nibbles on vegetation in the pen or pool. He is now spending time in the pen with “Twiggy” where they are separated by a fence but are often seen interacting along the fence. This April, the Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute completed marine mammal aerial surveys along the entire coas t of Belize. Nicole Auil Gom ez led manatee surveys on April 3-4 and the Oceanic Society carried out the surveys for the Turneffe Atoll on April 10-11, led by Dr. Holly Edwards. Manatee aerial surveys have been carrie d out for the coastline of Belize since 1977, and the last national count was done in 2007. The survey s provide information on distribution and relative abundance, which are applied to management st rategies, including the national Coastal Zone Management Plan. All rivers, larg e lagoons, and a large sample of cayes were surveyed using standard


Sirenews No. 57 6 April 2012 protocol. A total of 508 manatees were observed, with 10% of them being calves. This is the highest count recorded for Belize [the previous maximum count was 338 manatees si ghted in 2002 (Auil 2004)], still known globally to have the greatest number of Antillean manatees. Some key areas were in and around the Belize River, with 25 mana tees documented in the river it self; the Turneffe Atoll had 15 manatees; Placencia Lagoon had 31 individuals; a nd the Southern Lagoon (Gales Point) had a remarkable 52 animals. These numbers represent a minimum population size, as for every animal seen, others present are missed. The donated aircra ft service was provide d by the conservation NGO LightHawk. Manatee researcher Jamal Galves earned two pr ofessional development awards this year. Firstly, he was chosen for the inaugural 2012-2013 class of “Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders” (CEWCL). During the two-y ear training program participants will work in teams to develop, implement and evaluate a wildlife conservation pr oject in the Caribbean. They will have access to seasoned conservation professionals who will help guide them on this journey and who will provide one-on-one mentoring and career development Jamal also secured a Conservation Leadership Program (CLP) grant for a team project in the Belize River area, where the majority of manatee deaths and injuries occur. The project, titled “Ameliorating Threats to the Manatee in the Heart of Belize”, and complementing previous support from the Columbus Zoo and Disney's Cast Conservation Program, hopes to conserve an important area to Belizeans, manatees and other species by conducting a threat assessment in the Belize River mouth area. Manageme nt systems will be proposed to protect the habitat and manatees. Solutions will be established in collaboration with the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI), Fr iends of Swallow Caye, the Governme nt of Belize, and Sea to Shore Alliance. Objectives of the project include satellite tagging and tracking wild manatees to identify usage patterns and travel corridors at the Belize River site The next manatee capture and tagging event will take place in the Belize City area and the Southe rn Lagoon in early June. Additionally, we will be employing manatee scar analysis to categorize boat strikes; increasing monito ring of the Belize River site; determining appropriate speed zones (no wake zones, slow speed zones, manatee zones); working with local authorities to implement speed zones; creating and installing speed zone signs as well as developing and distributing educatio n materials to increase local awareness of th e importance of following speed restrictions; and edu cating local boat operators to become stewards of the area and the wildlife. The prize includes travel to Canada to accept the award and particip ate in a training workshop, and working with other participants to develop a strong, professional netw ork, facilitating future international collaboration. Jamal Galves (Sea to Shore Alliance a nd Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute. E-mail: manateeczmai@gmail.com ) BRAZIL When just returning to the wild is not enough: New steps for Reintroduction of Amazonian Manatees in Brazil. The Aquatic Mammals Laboratory of the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) is continuing the pioneering Reintroduc tion Program of the Amazonian mana tees raised in captivity, in progress since 2008 (see Sirenews No. 49). To date, four male indi viduals have been released and monitored in the wild. These manatees arrived at IN PA as orphaned calves less than six months old and were kept in captivity for approxima tely 10 years. However, we discove red that their perception of the natural environment was very poor, requiring changes in the procedures in use. The Reintroduction Protocol was revised, introduc ing a longer period in the pre-release (semi-captive) phase to gradually readapt the animals into the wild. In October 2011 the first transloca tion of three young captive manatees (two males and one female) was performed. The semi -natural facility is a 14 hectare natural lake,


Sirenews No. 57 7 April 2012 located at the border of th e right margin of the Solimes River, 80km from the city of Manaus (Amazon, Brazil). Initially, to facilitate monito ring and veterinary interventions, th e animals were maintained in an enclosed area of 3000m2, secured with a wooden fence. In prep aration for the translocation, still at INPA, each manatee was freeze-branded in the dorsum to help visual identification during the semicaptive management. The animals were transported from INPA to the new facility by truck at night to avoid the heat, inside an empty fi berglass pool covered with wet foam mattresses. During the three hour trip, the manatees were kept wet a nd constantly monitored by INPA/AMP A staff. Before release into the lake, each animal received a prototype of the VHF transmitter belt adapted to the caudal peduncle. A “regional breakfast” was organized to assemble all the inhabitants of the communities around the area to welcome the manatees and to learn about the project. Since the release, Manatee Project staff have been monitoring these animals to understa nd their adaptation in their new home. Every trimester, during the adaptation period, the manatees ar e captured to evaluate hea lth, blood collection, body mass and adjustment of the belts. Our aim is to maintain these animals for about one year in this controlled seminatural area before release into the wild. The next step s will be to select the area for release and promote an intense environmental education program with the riverine communities in th e release area, in order to create conservation awareness and to ensure th e protection of these manatees in the area. If successful, this will be the beginning of a long-term program supporting release of more manatees raised in captivity, with the goal of rec overing natural populations. A total of ten other animals with excellent potential to be released in the w ild are ready to be translocated. In 2012, five animals will be transferred to the semi-captive facility. This project is being conducted by INPA and AMPA (Friends of the Manatee Association www.ampa.org.br), and suppor ted by Petrobras S.A. and Fundao Grupo Boticrio de Proteo Natureza. – Diogo Alexandre de Souza, Vera Maria Ferreira da Silva, Jos Anselmo d'Affonseca Neto, Isabel Manhes Reis and Fernando Csar Weber Rosas (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amaznia (INPA) Labor atrio de Mamferos Aquticos (LMA), E-mail: diogo.peixeboi@gmail.com). Photos credit: AMPA. Semi-captive area for gradually re-adapti ng the Amazonian manatees into the wild.


Sirenews No. 57 8 April 2012 Welcome of the Amazonian manatees by the studen ts and inhabitants of the communities around the semi-captivity area. INPA/AMPA staff conducting the final procedures before the release of the manatee into the semi-captivity lake.


Sirenews No. 57 9 April 2012 Mermaids of the Amazon Using Amazonian manat ees as a “flagship species” for the conservation of the lower Rio Negro region, Brazilian Amazon The Amazonian manatee is vulnerable to extinction mainly due to poaching and logging in the Brazilian Amazon. Considering this, the IP – Instituto de Pesquisas Ecolgicas (Institute for Ecological Research), a Brazilian NGO, is attempting to research and conserve Amazonian manatees ( Trichechus inunguis ) in the lower Rio Negr o region. The project focuses on regional conservation by researching the species and engaging local citizens in the conservation of the species and of the region itself. Since October 2010, we have interviewed more than 120 residents from the small city of Novo Airo to get acquainted with the population's traditional knowledge and main threats to species. We presented 17 lectur es about the Amazonian manatee and lower Rio Negro region conservation. Furthermore, the Project staff along w ith partners from Novo Airo organized the Environmental Week of Novo Ai ro in June 2011, which included lectures to the students and general public in the region; and the Manatee Mini EcoF estival of Novo Airo in October 2011, which included enjoyable activities with students, such as theater, dance and music, lectures about several environmental concerns of the region and a drawing and poetr y contest. In 2011, 45 drawings and 60 poems were submitted and more than 200 people voted in the contest. Approximately 1500 citizens of Novo Airo participated in public awar eness activities in 2011. Regarding the research activities, we recorded evidence from 38 manatee samp les of feeding from 13 different plant-species. Two sightings of five Amazonian manatees were r ecorded in June and December 2011. Along with the Amazonian manatee monitoring at Anavilhanas Nationa l Park, some potential threats to the species' conservation were also noted including two instances of illegal logging, one of a trawl net, and six gillnets. In July and September 2011, in a partne rship with Mamirau Institute for Sustainable Development (IDSM), we used side-scan sonar att ached to a small boat to develop a methodology for locating and recording the species to enhance our knowledge of wild an imals. During this preliminary test with the sonar we defined the range of the det ection of the transducer a nd the boat speed to record images. In 2012 more tests are being carried out. More than 200 km were sa mpled with the side-scan sonar to develop the protocol to use this equipmen t and to search for Amazonian manatees. However, during the preliminary tests, no individuals were reco rded. The absence of animals could be related to the flooded period, when the animals move into the “igaps” (the flooded forest) to feed and conceal themselves. The tests are going to be carried out during 2012 to define the methodology, sampling during both the wet and the dry season. Cristina F. Tofoli (cftofoli@gmail.com), James Powell & Claudio B. Valladares-Padua Using side-scan sonar to locate Amazonian ma natees in the Rio Negro river, Brazil.


Sirenews No. 57 10 April 2012 Amazonian manatee educational activities in the lower Rio Negro region of Brazil. CUBA Update on the manatee conservation process in Cuba, 2011-2012 A standardized monitoring program is taking place in six protected area s in the south of Cuba, located in the provinces of Pinar del Ro, Isla de la Juventud, Matanzas and Granma. The research program involves boat surv eys to detect manatees, habitat evaluation and interviews with fishermen. The main goal is to locate places most used by manatees, to estimate relative occurrence and to detect potential threats. This monitoring program is implemented with funds from the Sea to Shore A lliance, MacArthur Foundation, Global Environmental Fund (GEF) and United Nations Development Program (PNUD), with the joint collaboration of the Center for Marine Research at the University of Havana, the National Center for Protected Areas and the Enterprise for Flora and Fauna. Since 2011 nine expe ditions have been organi zed in four protected areas: North Guanahacabibes on the western end of the island, La Coloma in Pinar del Ro on the southwest coast, Siguanea Gulf in Isla de la Juve ntud off the southwest coast, and South Granma on the southern coast of Cuba. We were able to detect ma natee presence in only two areas, Isla de la Juventud and Granma. Nonetheless fishermen from the other areas have reported manat ee presence in this last period. Relative occurrence was higher in Granma (1.14 si ghtings/10 nautical miles) than in Isla de la Juventud (0.61 sightings/10 na utical miles). Potential threats in th e surveyed areas were illegal hunting and entanglement in fishing nets. In addition, two sa tellite tags are ready to be deployed on two animals in order to register their movement pa tterns in the southw est part of Cuba.


Sirenews No. 57 11 April 2012 We have also started an educati onal campaign with informative poste rs distributed to fishermen, the coastguard, marinas, diving centers etc. all over the is land, to collect information about manatee sightings and strandings. Initia l results have included sightings in North and South Pinar del Ro (see picture below), Isla de la Juventud, Matanzas and V illa Clara. As a result of this program people are becoming more involved in the manatee conserva tion process taking place th roughout the country. Anmari Alvarez Alemn (anmari@cim.uh.cu), Jorge Angulo Valds, and James Powell Manatees in Guanahacabibes. Three manatees swimming from the north to the south coast of Guanahacabibes were photographed by scuba divers from the International Club “Maria la Gorda”. MALAYSIA Universiti Sains Malaysia launches dugong ed ucation program at Sibu island, Johor. A three-year university-com munity project entitled “Testing the e ffectiveness of conservation education programs: a case study of the dugong ( Dugong dugon ) in Johor, Malaysia" was recently initiated in August 2011. This project is led by Dr. Leela Rajamani from the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia with a multidisciplin ary team and collaboration from non-governmental organizations. Dugongs are found south of peninsul ar Malaysia and in certain part s of Sabah in east Malaysia. The islands of Tinggi and Sibu, east of Johor, particularly have cons istent reports of dugongs. This project will seek to engage local communities, school s and resorts at Sibu Island, Johor in an education program about dugongs, seagrasses and their conser vation. In April 2012, we will be distributing posters and giving talks to seek permission and support to conduct the educ ation program. The following year, we intend to carry out field trips to seagrass habitats with schoolchildren and local community members to further educate them on the ecology of dugongs, se agrasses and related ecosystems. We are also working with the School of the Arts to develop an alternative method of conveying conservation education. Th e community will have been asked whether they would like to participate in a processional performa nce/installation near the seagrass ha bitat. If the community agrees, a dugong storybook with cartoons will be prepared relating facts about dugongs and seagrasses, conservation of dugongs, and socio-cultural relationshi ps with the dugong (perceptions, myths). Props


Sirenews No. 57 12 April 2012 for the procession will include flags with seagra ss motifs, T-shirts with dugong prints and masks depicting mermaids. A time will be set for the procession, preferably early evening or morning near the seagrass bed. As the props are handed out to th e participants, each person will be asked to play a part in the performance. Several storybook readers from our team as well as enthusiastic community members will be selected to narrate the dugong story. Using ma terials from the shore and surrounding villages (pebbles, shells, fallen twigs) we will together create a dugong monument on the sand. The procession will begin from this point at the waterline and the readers will begin narrati ng. Once the narration has finished, the procession will then end back at the dugong monument to symbolize that life is a continuous cycle. The dugong monument is th en disassembled and returned to nature. For both the conventional and innovative methods, it is expected that the community will have a better understanding of ecological pr ocesses and how organisms are linked and interdependent on each other. Ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses a nd coral reefs sustain fi sheries, which are very important for community livelihoods. Perhaps the dugong will bring a sense of pride to the community when they learn that Sibu Island is one of the key places where dugongs are found. We will then learn the effec tiveness of such a program through community opinion. Interview surveys will be carried out with the local community to inquire about communi cation efficiency of the educators, community reaction to the education progr am and progress made in terms of positive attitude change and daily activities with re gards to conservation of the dugong. The results of this study will be analyzed and presented to the local community to en able them to effectivel y understand the purpose of the education program. These results will also give key insights to conservation implementers and educators on how to effectively evaluate and impr ove their own programs, bearing in mind community needs. Leela Rajamani (leelarajamani@gmail.com) MYANMAR Myanmar Dugong and Seagrass Information Websites. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is one of the first signatory States to the “Memor andum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range” by signing the MoU at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in 2007. My anmar has a 2280km coastline and it can be divided into three coasts: Rakhine, Ayeyawaddy and Tanintharyi. Pr esence of dugongs and seag rass has been reported from the Rakhine and Tanintharyi coasts, and 11 s eagrass species have been found in Myanmar waters to date. Information on Myanmar dugongs and seagra ss can be obtained from the following website: http://sites.google.com/site/tintdugong. Tint Tun (tintun@gmail.com) NEW CALEDONIA Informing dugong movement and habitat use behavior in New Caledonia – A pilot study. New Caledonia supports one of the world’s largest po pulations of dugongs. However, conservation and management actions are hampered by a lack of know ledge on the status of the population as well as on the species movement and habitat use behavior. Animal tracking us ing telemetry devices provides valuable information into species’ distribution, move ments and habitat use. However, tag deployment on sirenians is particularly challenging because it requi res capturing the animal. The aim of this pilot project was to catch, tag, and track two dugongs with sa tellite/GPS transmitter devices in order to assess the feasibility of a mo re extensive study in New Caledonian waters. The project was carried out by Christophe Cleguer, a PhD student supervised in co-tutelle by


Sirenews No. 57 13 April 2012 Professor Helene Marsh (James Cook University, Aust ralia) and Professor Cla ude Payri (University of Pierre and Marie Curie-IRD, Fr ance-New Caledonia). We searched for dugongs from 5-20 March 2012 in two different regions of the west coast of Ne w Caledonia. Capture using the rodeo technique (Lanyon et al., 2006) and tagging using both sate llite and TDR tags were successf ul and the movement of the two dugongs (one male, ‘Foni’, and one female, ‘Mara’) can now be followed on the seaturtle website at http://www.seaturtle.org /tracking/?project_id=719. The project following this pilot study will lead to a greater understanding of movement and habitat use of dugongs in New Caledonia. It will also im prove methods for studies that define habitat use and linkages between habitats by further evaluati ng the use of new developments in GPS/ARGOS tracking technology to acquire large numbers of fixes from dugongs that are travelling large distances and moving rapidly. This technology will enable us to investigate questions such as the relative time dugongs spend in deepwater areas (e. g., in channels inside the lagoon or outside of th e barrier reef) versus the time spent on reef tops or close to ma ngrove areas (where they are easier to catch). This will be a critical step towards a better understanding of dugong ecology in New Caledonia with important implications for management agenci es. In particular, it will help facilitate future conservation and management planning in relation to dugong habitats and to inform whether current levels of protection are sufficient. Project Partners This project was implemented throughout the Dugong 2010-2012 Action Plan in New Caledonia. It was financed by the French Marine Protected Ar ea Agency, the South Province of New Caledonia, the WWF and Opration Ctacs. The part ners of the project are the French Marine Protected Area Agency, the North Province, the South Province, the Loyalty Island Province, the New Caledonian Government, the French Government, the WWF and Opration Ctacs (NGO). -Christophe Cleguer (PhD Candidate, Christophe.cleguer@my.jcu.edu.au School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University AUSTRALIA & Univers it de Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) Institut de Recherche pour le d veloppement (IRD) FRANCE NEW CALEDONIA) RECENT LITERATURE Borges, J.C.B, L.C. Alves, M.A.G. Faustino, and M. Marmontel. 2011. Occu rrence of Cryptosporidium spp. in Antillean Manatees (Trichechus manatus) and Amazonian Manatees (Trichechus inunguis) from Brazil. Journal of Zoo and Wildlif e Medicine: December 2011 42(4):593-596. Castelblanco-Martinez, D.N., E. Barba, J.J. Schm itter-Soto, H.A. Hernandez-Arana, and B. MoralesVela. 2012. The trophic role of the endangered Caribbean manatee Trichechus manatus in an estuary with low abundance of seagrass. Estuaries and Coasts 35(1):60-77.


Sirenews No. 57 14 April 2012 Domning, D.P. & S. Sorbi. 2011. Rytiodus heali sp. nov., a new sirenian (Mammalia, Dugonginae) from the Miocene of Libya. Jour nal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(6):1338-1355. Gonzalez-Socoloske, D. & L.D. Olivera-Gomez. 2012. Gentle giants in dark waters: Using side-scan sonar for manatee research. The Open Remote Sensing Journal 5:1-14. Harr, K.E., R. Rember, P.E. Ginn, J. Lightsey, M. Keller, J. Reid and R.K Bonde. 2011. Serum amyloid A (SAA) as a biomarker of chronic infection due to boat strike trauma in a free-ranging Florida manatee ( Trichechus manatus latirostris ) with incidental polycystic ki dneys. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 47:1026-1031. Mass, A.M., D.R. Ketten, D.K. Odell, and A.Y. Supin. 2012. Ganglion cell distribution and retinal resolution in the Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative and Evolutiona ry Biology 295(2):355-368. Silva, F. M. O., M. Marmontel, M.G. Guterres-P azin, G. Marsicano, R.R. Suertegaray, G. Medeiros, M.I.C.P. Ferraz. 2011. The healing process of skin lesions in a captive Amazonian manatee ( Trichechus inunguis ) calf: a case report. Uakari 7(2):43-47. Velez-Juarbe, J., D.P. Domning, and N.D. Pyenson. 2012. Iterative evolution of sympatric seacow (Dugongidae, Sirenia) assemblages during the past 26 million years. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31294. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031294 Wong, A.W., R.K. Bonde, J. Siegal -Willott, M.A. Stamper, J. Colee, J.A. Powell, J.P. Reid, C.J. Deutsch, and K.E. Harr. 2012. Monitoring oral temperat ure, heart rate, and resp iration rate of West Indian manatees ( Trichechus manatus ) during capture and handling in the field. Aquatic Mammals 38(1):1-16.


Sirenews No. 57 15 April 2012 >>> COPY DEADLINE FOR NEXT ISSUE: OCTOBER 1, 2012 <<< Material may be submitted to Cynthia Taylor at: ctaylor@sea2shore.org Submissions should be in Microsoft Word format. Sirenews is available at: www.sirenian.org/sirenews.html and http://www.sea2shore.org/newsletters