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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 WEST AFRICAN MANATEE TRAINING WORKSHOPS (pg. 3, 6, 13) ORPHANED MANATEE CALF IN GABON (pg. 10) CONSERVATION ACTION FOR DU GONGS: PACIFIC YEAR OF THE DUGONG AND UNEP/CMS PILOT PROJECTS The Pacific Year of the Dugong (PYOD) is a campaign led by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and supported by UNE P/CMS, aimed at boosting the conservation of dugongs and its seagrass habitats. The campaign i nvites individuals, conservation bodies, communities and governments to support this unique drive fo r dugong conservation. The PYOD regional launch took place on 14 March 2011 in Koror, Pala u, in the country which hosts the smallest, most remote and critically endangered du gong population in the region. In addition, national launches are organized in New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Is lands and Vanuatu. SPREP has also established a campaign website (http://www.sprep.org/biodiversity /PYOD/index.asp) which has further information on the 2011 campaign, its objectives and events, as well as photographs and elec tronic material. In 2012, the Secretariat to the Dugong MOU w ill support a concluding event in Palau to mark the end of the campaign. The Dugong MOU Secretariat and SPREP are also planning a meeting in association with that event, to revise the 20082012 SPREP Action Plan for Dugongs. In Daru, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Pacific Year of the Dugong was launched with great celebration on 24 March 2011. Daru was selected as th e national campaign launch location because of the high cultural significance of dugongs to the coas tal villages in the We stern Province of PNG. Moreover, the waters of PNG and Australia in Torres Strait share th e largest remaining dugong population in the world. Traditional inhabitants from both the Daru re gion and the Torres Strait Islands have strong traditions based on the use of dugongs, a right protected under the Torres Strait Treaty Sire news Newsletter of the IUCN Sirenia Specialist Group Apri l 2011 Funded by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission Number 5 5
Sirenews No. 55 2 April 2011 between PNG and Australia. The PYOD campaign la unch marked a long-awaited revitalization of dugong protection efforts which has lapsed since the 1980s. The major highlight of the campaign was the start of a new pilot project using financial incentives to address direct hunting of dugongs by changing peoples practices and improving the livelihoods of local communities in Da ru. At a meeting for the pilot project held prior to the launch event, the various stakeholders gave unanimous a nd overwhelming support for the initiative. Given the demonstrated high level of commitment from all le vels of government, community based organizations and local leaders, the pilot project promises to ma ke a highly successful c ontribution to progressing dugong conservation and management as well as li velihood improvement to communities in the Daru region. The Secretariat to the UNEP/C MS Dugong MOU has selected two p ilot projects to be developed and implemented in PNG and Mozambique. Five other projects (in India, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tanzania and Thailand) were assessed as having the potential to meet the criteria and become viable financial incentives pilot projects subject to available capacity, resources and funding. These potential projects have been invited to work closely with the Secretariat to further develop their proposals. In April 2011 the Dugong MOU Secretariat will meet with Mozambiques Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs and other pilot project partners, and make a site visit to Bazaruto Archipelago in order to further develop a nd progress the pilot project. At the First Official Signator y State Meeting (SS1) in Abu Dh abi in October 2010, the Signatory States of the Dugong MOU agreed to fund a small numbe r of pilot projects to trial financial incentive tools as a means to generate dugong conservation actio ns. While financial incen tive tools have been used in marine turtle and a number of terrestrial conservation programmes, they have not been widely considered for dugong conservation efforts. Based on the selection criteria endorsed by Signatory States at the SS1, the Secretariat to the Dugong MOU is pr epared to support a small number of innovative and novel pilot projects to be conducted at nominated dugong "hotspots". The overall objective of the pilot projects is to trial economic or social incentives to improve dugong survivability and habitat protection while improving economic and social well-being of co mmunities by testing financial incentive tools to reduce direct dugong mortality (particularly from by-cat ch at relevant sites) and documenting lessons learned so they may be applied at other locations, where appropriate. See activities of th e Secretariat to the UNEP/CMS Dugong MoU on http://www.cms.int/species /dugong/dugong_noticeboard.htm See the Pacific Year of the Dugong campaign website on http://www.sprep.org/biodiversity/PYOD/index.asp
Sirenews No. 55 3 April 2011 Year of the Dugong launch in Palau with the president and local officials. Schoolchildren in Daru, Papua Ne w Guinea celebrating the launch. WEST AFRICAN MANATEE CONSER VATION PROGRAMME: ON THE ROAD TO BUILDING A MANA TEE SURVEYORS NETWORK! Since August 2008, Wetlands International Afri ca (WIA) has been implementing the second phase of the West African Manatee Conservation program under the Regional Coastal and Marine Conservation Program for West Africa (PRCM). This is the continuation of initiatives implemented for nearly five years for a better understanding of the sp ecies values, status and interests. One of the main topics has been the methodology for monitoring manatees at defined sites. After selection of these sites, based in part on the level of threats, two people from each country (except one from Mauritania) were invited to atte nd training from 21-25 May 2010 in Senegal ( Editor's note: recommendations from the training works hop are presented in the next article ). Trainees selected are all focal points for the manatee monitoring network in th eir respective countries. Af ter selecting the sites
Sirenews No. 55 4 April 2011 and the team, a modular course was built with Prof essor Patrick Ofori Danson from Legon university of Accra, Ghana. Prof. Ofori Danson is implementing, in collaboration with Ea rthwatch Institute, a program for manatee monitoring in Volta Lake. The modul ar course contains diffe rent subjects such as: Unit 1: Introduction to the Sirenia Order, with empha sis on the evolution and status of the West African Manatee Unit 2: Biology and Ecology of the manatee Unit 3: Introduction to Morphometric a nd Cranial Measurements of the Manatee Unit 4: Identification of manatee food sources, feeding sites and habitats Unit 5: Methods to estimate numbers of manatee: sightings, scanning and telemetry Unit 6: Manatee habitat measurem ents and water quality analysis Unit 7: Transect surveys and scanning for manatees in the field Unit 8: An overview of manatee field research equipm ent and design of data sheets, data collection and monitoring Unit 9: The manatee Action Plan and estab lishment of database of manatee records Unit 10: Evaluation of the training in the Delta of Sa loum, Senegal, near the Niumi National Park in the Gambia; Completion of Expected Learning Forms Units 3 and 10 gave an introduction to morphometric measurements and the evaluation system. The meeting focused mainly on units 4-8 and one part of unit 9. The objective for this training was to create a working group on manatee data collection within the PRCM sub-region in order to learn more on the mi grations of this species. Before the end of the training, a common data sheet was adopted with the re quired small equipment. The project is focused on six countries: Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia Guinea Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The training also encouraged cooperation betw een different regions of the world, through the participation of experts from Mexico and Colomb ia. Dr. Benjamin Morales from the IUCN Sirenia Specialist Group and Ms. Nataly Castelblanco, a Ph D candidate, made useful comments that allowed trainees to ameliorate the approaches. Two days were used for presentations and th e other two days were dedicated to the field exercise. The trainers found the difficulties of surv eying manatees in the field, including the basic aptitudes to detect manatee occurrence. Familiarizing with the data sheets was the other objective of the field work. At the end of the exercise, many pr oblems to resolve were identified, such as: making less noise (with the engine) working with a quiet team reporting events correctly and rapidly respect the timing during the scanning record all the events so that after every mission, you can assess exte rnal events that can influence manatee behavior Wetlands international is running th is project through trai nees who are working on the ground in order to build a regional database for manatees and thei r habitats. The people trai ned in manatee survey methodology will then, with a manatee monitoring guide, train other people in th eir respective countries to build strong networks. Currently this networ k is working well in Guinea with three sites ( Kakounsou, Kaback Island and Benty ), Sierra Leone ( Fogbo ), Senegal ( Senegal River, Saloum River) and Gambia (Niumi, Tanbi and Gambia River). For Guinea Bissau, the work will start in September. To make this database sustainable and reliable Wetlands International i nvolved researchers from the regional veterinary school (EISMV) and Resear ch Center for Oceanography of Dakar Thiaroye
Sirenews No. 55 5 April 2011 (CRODT). Below is a list of participants in th is important meeting. Curr ently, the database is provisionally coordinated by the project team in Wetlands International. The ideal situation is to have a research center take on the database management, co llaborating efficiently with a network of research centers all along the African coast. As a reminder, Wetlands International Africa conducted a previous workshop during 2005 and 2006 for manatee distribution in Africa. The main achie vement of that workshop was the production of a regional strategy for manatee conservation, wh ich can be accessed via the link below: http://www.wetlands.org/WatchRead /Allourpublications/tabid/1911/mod/ 1570/articleType/ArticleView/ articleId/2261/Default.aspx Participants in the 2010 Wetlands Inte rnational manatee training workshop: No. Name Country Status Contacts 1. Ousmane CAMARA Guinea Pa rticipant firstname.lastname@example.org 2. Julio SOAREZ Guinea Bissau Participant email@example.com 3. Christina SCHWARZ Guinea Bissau Participant schwarz. firstname.lastname@example.org 4. Alagie CONTEH Sierra Leone Participant email@example.com 5. Victor Hamusa KARGBO Sierra Leone Participant firstname.lastname@example.org 6. Lamine KANE Senegal Participant email@example.com 7. Abidine ZEINE Mauritania Participant firstname.lastname@example.org 8. Mawdo JALLOW The Gambia Participant email@example.com 9. Abdoulie SAWO The Gambia Participant firstname.lastname@example.org 10. Mamadou KORA Senegal Participant email@example.com 11. Prisca NDOUR Senegal Ecole Inter-Etats des Sciences et Medecine Vtrinaires (EISMV) firstname.lastname@example.org 12. Mamadou NIANE Senegal Wetlands email@example.com 13. Sander CARPAY Senegal Wetlands firstname.lastname@example.org 14. Momar SOW Senegal Wetlands (Coordinator) email@example.com 15. Benjamin MORALES VELA Mexico IUCN Manatee Expert firstname.lastname@example.org 16. Nataly CASTELBLANCOMARTINEZ Mexico Scientific Advisor email@example.com 17. Patrick Kwabena OFORIDANSON Ghana Manatee Expert Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org 18. Massal FALL Senegal Cr odt email@example.com 19. Momar Khary DIAGNE Senegal Interpreter/ Translator firstname.lastname@example.org 20. Amadou Lamine SENE Senegal Interpreter/ Translator email@example.com
Sirenews No. 55 6 April 2011 Field activities and participants at the 21-24 March 2010 training workshop. -Dr. Mamadou NIANE (Project Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Momar SOW (Project Associate, email@example.com); Wetlands Inte rnational Africa (WIA), Rue 111, Villa No 39, Zone B Dakar, Senegal, P.O. Box : 25 581 Dakar-Fann, Tl +221 33 869 16 81, Fax +221 33 825 92 12, www.wetlands.org OVERVIEW AND GENERA L RECOMMENDATIONS FR OM THE WETLANDS INTERNATIONAL WEST AFRICA N MANATEE TRAINING: MAY 2010 As described above, from May 21-25 2010 Wetlands International Regional Office in Senegal (WIRO) realized a training session on the methodologies for monitori ng the West African Manatee in the Saloum Delta, Senegal. The aim of the works hop was to improve the tools and methodologies for monitoring West African manatees and manatee habitat, through an in tegrated approach with local experts and wildlife managers from Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone. We were invited by Ibrahima Thiem (Regional Di rector of Wetlands Intern ational in Africa) and Dr. Mamadou Niane as internationa l expert observers. The extraord inary organization of Dr. Mamadou Niane and Momar Sow ensured a successful workshop. This meeting was a great opportunity to share our experiences in manatee conser vation in Latin America with our African colleagues. For us it was also meaningful to learn about West African expe riences in manatee conservation. Both West African and Latin American countries share similar manat ee conservation issues: limited economic resources for research, significant use of aquatic wildlife resources by local indigenous communities, manatee hunting activities in isolated areas, habitat loss and fragmentation, conf licts with coastal fisheries, and particular environmental condi tions which make the study of manatees more difficult.
Sirenews No. 55 7 April 2011 As a way to contribute to this great effort coordinated by WI RO, the following recommendations were given to Dr. Mamadou Niane a nd Mr. Momar Sow with the aim of strengthening the initiatives in West African countries. We hope th at these recommendations help to facilitate effective management and research actions to conserve the West African manatee and hu man cultures in those countries. GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS Reduction of human-induced mortality to manat ees should be the highest priority for the Wetlands International manatee conservation group. Decreasing mortality w ill likely involve: a) reduction of habitat loss, with the damming of rivers and coastal development; b) finding alternative livelihoods fo r people in order to reduce their de pendence on manatee meat; c) local people seem to respect and admire manatee hunters; it would be be tter if they are admired and respected for taking good care of manatees; d) education involving local teachers and local communities. Be careful about popular beliefs about West Afri can manatees (for example, assumptions about seasonality in reproduction or carni vorous feeding habits). Because of the scarcity of information about the species, we recommend caution before drawing generali zations and to consult basic research that has been done in other parts of the world. To develop a new research topic about intera ctions between manatees and humans, and to evaluate the real effect of ma natee presence on human activities (e .g. rice farming, fisheries, etc). If necessary, search for solutions to mitigate these conflicts. To continue obtaining biological an d cultural information from hunti ng cases, and if possible, to take morphometric measurements and to collect biological samples. In order to maintain this network we recommen d that meeting sessions (once a year) and virtual sessions (every two months) should be pla nned by WIRO. The annua l sessions should be preceded by work documents (repor ts) developed by each country. WIRO should build and manage a very well-structur ed database and GIS to give support to this manatee network. For this, it will be necessary to buy adequate ha rdware and software and to contract an expert in databases and GIS. Our colleagues and Sirenia expert s, Lucy Keith (member of IUCN Sirenia Specialist Group) and Tomas Diagne, are working to establish an IUCN Sirenian subgroup for West African manatees. This action seeks to improve several regional and local initiatives. We recommend working closely with them and other local experts. West African manatees are also a priority species for IUCN and we strongly en courage regional actions. ECOSUR (Mexico) and Sherbrook University (Canada) started a Masters program in 2010 where graduate students are involved in envir onmental management problems. They must spend four to six months working on real problems outside of Mexico and Canada. In July-August of 2011 ECOSUR has plans to visit WIRO to facilit ate opportunities for graduate students to get involved in helping to devel op solutions to West African manatee conservation problems, starting in 2012.
Sirenews No. 55 8 April 2011 Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Senegal and Sierra Leone integrated an approach for the conservation of the West African manat ee coordinated by WIRO and under the Regional Conservation program for the Coastal and Mari ne Area of West Africa (PRCM) initiative. Longterm adequate funding should be carefully planned to implement these regional West African manatee conservation and management actions. For more information about the West African manatee Wetlands International program please contact: Dr. Mamadou Niane (mniane@wetlands .sn) and Momar Sow (firstname.lastname@example.org). Acknowledgements We sincerely appreciate the inv itation of WIRO that ga ve us the opportunity to participate in this workshop. The strong commitments of all participants guarantee the future of the West African manatee and we encourage the IUCN Si renia Specialist Group to help with this initiative. Dr. Benjamn Morales Vela (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) Av. Centenario Km 5.5, Chetumal. Mxico; Co-Chair of the Sirenia SG/IUCN; bmoral email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Nataly Castelblanco Martnez (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECO SUR), Av. Centenario Km 5.5, Chetumal. Mxico; Member of Sirenia SG/IUC N; email@example.com) LOCAL NEWS CARIBBEAN Viability of the Caribbean manatee population. The Caribbean manatee Trichechus manatus manatus is an endangered species affected by natural and anthropogenic mortalities, such as poaching/hunting, fishing interaction and boat impact. We built a Population Viability Analysis (PVA) for this metapopulation with the goal to defi ne the extinction tendency under va rious scenarios of catastrophic impacts, hunting and carrying capacity. Specifics goals were: (1) to review and update data on distribution, historic and current stat us and risks for the species, (2) to simulate its extinction on various hypothetic scenarios and (3) to determ ine which factors have more imp act on the extinction process. The Regional Management Plan for the West Indian Manatee ( Trichechus manatus ) of the UNEP (QuintanaRizzo and Reynolds 2007) was used as the main sour ce of information, since it is the most actualized document on the population situation. Subpopulations we re defined using geneti c structure, geographic barriers and ethologic characteristics of the speci es. A series of multiple individual Monte Carlo simulations of deterministic and stochastic factors were run on VORTEX9.99 Software. The metapopulation is found in the tropical region with a discontinued distribution, where the Panama subpopulation could represent a frag ile link between subpopulations. Pr edictions of future population sizes and quasi-extinction events us ing PVA can only be accurate if ma nagers are confident that their data were adequately captured. Ho wever, in our case the information was dispersed and scarce. One of the main weaknesses of the model was the lack of accurate, standardized and updated data on population size, so the interpretation of the results has to be taken with caution. However, this PVA helped us to better understand which of a suite of management stra tegies is likely to maximize the probability of a population to persist. For instance, the PVA showed that the metapopul ation would be unable to recover from the mortality caused by hunting a nd capture in fishing nets. On the other hand, in order to conserve the Caribbean manatee it is meaningf ul to identify and to conserve/res tore manatee corridors, promoting
Sirenews No. 55 9 April 2011 long-distance manatee movements by mitigating obstac les, and thus facilitating the genetic exchange between contiguous subpopulations Although our model has strong li mitations, as real subpopulation sizes could be underestimated, it made it evident that fo r most of the countries th e situation is critical, the manatee research is still scarce, and action plan s at the regional level ar e needed urgently. These plans need to include eradication of anthropogenic mortality, to diminish habitat fragmentation and to increase the carrying capacit y. In order to evaluate the dynamic of this metapopulation, it is important to develop standardized counting methods in areas of Latin America where it is difficult or impossible to conduct aerial or boat surveys of ma natees, such as Central and Sout h American rivers. The complete manuscript of this work is being prepared for publication. Nataly Castelblanco-Martnez and Coralie Nourisson (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur. Av. Cent enario Km. 5.5.CP 79000. Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mxico; castelblanc firstname.lastname@example.org) Reference: Quintana-Rizzo, E. and J.E. Reynolds, I., 2007. Re gional Management Plan for the West Indian Manatee ( Trichechus manatus ), United Nations Environment Pr ogramme. United Nations Environment Programme. CEP Technical Report, Kingston, Jamaica. CUBA Training for Cuban specialists on the monitoring of wild manatees (Trichechus manatus) in natural protected areas. One of the limitations to the study of manatees in Cuba is the lack of training of the people responsible for monitoring the species. Two events of high significance have taken place in Cuba in order to strengthen local capacity in co llecting information on mana tees in Cuban waters. The first event was "The Workshop on Techniques to Study Manatees in the Wild", held from 21-24 June 2010 at the Marine Resear ch Center, University of Havana (CIM-UH). It was organized by the National Center for Protected Areas (CNAP) and th e National Enterprise for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ENPFF). The objectives were: 1) to standardize methodol ogies for collecting information about abundance, distribution and habita t of manatees in Cuba; 2) to disc uss the status of the species in Cuba; and 3) to train participants in technique s of sampling wild populations of manatees. Local specialists from ten provinces and more than 20 Cuba n institutions participate d. Invited experts from Colombia (Dr. Nataly Castelblanco), Guatemala (Dr. Esther Quintana) and USA (Dr. James Powell, Dr. Robert Bonde, Dr. Andrew Garrett, Dr Alex Costidis) shared with the participants their experiences and information about manatee conservation status. The first part of the works hop was the explanation by the specialists of the methodologies used in other regions for monitoring wild populations of manatees. They addressed techniques such as aerial surveys, observations from boat and land, telemetry, side-scan sonar, and use of various genetic techniques, am ong others. The second part of the workshop was the explanation of the anatomy and physiology of mari ne mammals. This section included a detailed necropsy of a donated manatee calf carcass. Th e necropsy was conducted by biologist Alexander Costidis (University of Fl orida). In the third secti on of the workshop, the local researchers described the situation of the species in the si x areas proposed for monitoring ma natee populations in Cuba. These areas are North Guanahacabibes and La Coloma in Pi nar del Rio, Ensenada de Si guanea on the Isla de la Juventud, Cienaga de Zapata, Delta del Cauto and Sout h Granma. Finally, the par ticipants discussed the monitoring protocol to be implemented in protected areas, thus promoting the exchange of points of view and experiences. Twenty-one Cuban specialists, technicians and workers were trained on issues related to health and an atomy of manatees (and other marine ma mmals), sampling techniques and rescue
Sirenews No. 55 10 April 2011 and sampling of carcasses. One of the main result s of the workshop was the creation of an interinstitutional work agenda in order to continue the monitoring of the species in the country. The second event was "The Practical Traini ng on Collecting Data on Manatees in Field, Ensenada Siguanea, Isla de la Juventud", conducted from 7-13 February 2011 as a continuation of the first workshop. It consisted of an expedition for practical training on manatee monitoring implementation. This practical workshop was c oordinated by CIM-UH, CNAP and ENPFF. Local specialists of the protected areas of Pinar del Rio, La Habana, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Isla de la Juventud participated in the experience. They became familiar with conducting monitoring surveys and recording manatees, use of field instruments and filling out data sheets. These training activities are also important because they encourage studies aimed at th e conservation of the species in different areas of the country. These two workshops provided a framework of e xperience exchanges in th e surveys of manatee populations. Also, the integration and coordination of actions among institutions and centers from different sectors in the country deno te an increased interest in the species. The implementation of a standardized monitoring program in the country w ill offer essential information to support manatee management plans and will strengthen the conservation process throughout the island. Participants in the Cuba training workshop. Acknowledgements The workshops were possible thanks to the help and support of the Cuban government and nongovernmental institutions concerned about manatees These activities were funded by GEF-UNDP, Sea to Shore Alliance, Wildlife Trust/EcoHealth Allia nce, and MacArthur Foundation. We also appreciate the attendance of the international experts who accepted our invitation to the workshops. We are grateful to the Marine Mammal Pathobiol ogy Lab (MMPL) of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) for the donation of the ma natee carcass. Anmari Alvarez ( email@example.com.Center for Marine Researc h, University of Havana, Cuba. Calle 16 #114 entre 1ra y 3ra, Miramar, Playa, Cuba), Yanet Forneiro, James Powell, and Nataly Castelblanco. GABON Orphaned manatee calf in Gabon. On September 24, 2010 a live West African manatee calf, approximately one month old, washed up on the beach in Mayumba, a very remote section of southern Gabon in central West Africa. It is unknown where the manatee origin ated from, but evidence suggests
Sirenews No. 55 11 April 2011 it was traveling with its mother in the ocean and became separated. Staff from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) at Mayumba National Park rescue d the male calf, who was 117cm long and weighed 27kg at rescue. This is the first documented record of a West African manatee in the Atlantic Ocean in Gabon. After stabilizing him in a bathtub overnight, th e calf was transferred to a corral, which the staff quickly built at the edge of a nearby lagoon. WCS contacted Lucy Ke ith since she has been studying manatees in Gabon since 2005, and she connected WC S to Dr. Tony Mignucci (Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation Center) and Dr. Gregor y Bossart (Georgia Aquarium), wh o both have experience in caring for orphaned manatee calves in de veloping countries. They are pr oviding excellent advice via the internet and have, along with severa l other organizations, sent funds a nd supplies to help the staff there keep the animal alive. None of th e people on site had worked with mana tees previously, and all are to be commended for huge efforts over the past six months including feeding the manatee every three hours around the clock, finding and housing volunteers, and locating and transp orting supplies to the remote location. Ken Cameron, a WCS veterinarian who has pr evious Florida manatee expertise, traveled up from the Congo and spent the first month in Mayumba he lping to stabilize the calf and to address health issues. Recently Dr. Mignucci sent Inter American Un iversity of Puerto Rico graduate student Jonathan Perez-Rivera to Gabon for 4 months to care for the mana tee calf and to train local care-givers, and he is doing an excellent job. The manatee calf has been named Victor, and he is considered to have a reasonable chance of survival. This is an exceptional oppor tunity not only to help this indi vidual, but for scientists to learn about this elusive species, to promote educational awareness for manatees in Gabon and throughout Africa, and for international coll aboration between manat ee researchers from around the world. Victor is only the second known orphan calf in Africa to be cared for in captivity, and there will be many challenges to overcome for his eventual successful release back to the wild. Unlike West Indian and Amazonian manatees, our medical knowledge of this en dangered species is lite rally nonexistent, thus Victor is a true ambassador for his species. We hope to be able to tag and track him upon his release (targeted for 2013, but this will be dependent upon his health). In the meantime, funds are desperately needed to support the care of this an imal over the next 1.5 years. Donatio ns are gratefully accepted at: Victor the Manatee, c/ o the Marine Program Wildlife Conservation Society Attn: Grace Seo 2300 Southern Boulevard Bronx, NY 10460 USA Tel: 718-220-8156 Please make checks payable to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Lucy Keith (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ken Cameron (email@example.com), Ricardo Zanre (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tony Mignucci (email@example.com), Gregory Bossart (firstname.lastname@example.org), Aimee Sanders (email@example.com) and Richard Parnell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sirenews No. 55 12 April 2011 Victor in his lagoon enclosure, shortl y after rescue (photo by A. Sanders). A recent health assessment of Victor by Puerto Rican manatee student Jonathan Perez-Rivera (photo by A. Sanders). MADAGASCAR Can dugong taboos in Northern Madagascar cont ribute to their effective conservation? Northern Madagascar is believed to hos t a regionally important, yet re latively unstudied dugong population. Accidental capture in gillnets pos es the greatest contemporary thre at to the species survival in Madagascar now that deliberate hunting is no longer viable because the population has declined so
Sirenews No. 55 13 April 2011 rapidly in recent decades. Taboos (locally known as fady ) are a significant part of Malagasy life and are central to status and position in society; they may also affect, and sometimes even directly manage, many constituents of the local natural environment. We interviewed several local dugong experts (e.g. senior or experienced fishers or dugong hunters) in Northern Mada gascar. Questions focused on dugong taboos and their impact on hunting, killing and meat preparation. Dugongs were associated with numerous legends ow ing to their anthropomo rphic nature. Stories were recounted of how, in the past, dugongs actually used to be human, descendents of a brother and sister who entered into an incestuous relationship. It was believed that the illicit couple was eventually forced by the local community to escape into the ocean where they became dugongs. It was noted that dugongs were similar to humans except that they lack ed feet and they were also regarded to have comparable intellect. It was taboo to let women or children see dugongs because of the similarities between dugong and human genitalia. If fishers pl anned to hunt dugongs, the team was chosen from several different families to ensure that no elicit sexual encounters with dugongs occurred during the fishing trip. Not everyone was permitted to kill a dugong; in mo st villages a specialist was required. These specialists were rare and often ha d to travel vast dist ances from their home village to perform the distinctive ceremony and butchering procedures. During meat preparation the dugong was hidden from people and prepared and butchered in a secret loca tion using special equipment before the meat was brought to the village and shared among the commun ity. The animal was slaughtered on its back; the navel and surrounding parts were removed because they we re believed to be fatally toxic. It was taboo to put salt on the navel or head. Many parts were not permitted to be cut with a knife including: breast, genitals and ears. Genitals and breas ts could not be sold; to even talk about genitals was taboo. Cutting the ear from a dugong was believed to cause imme diate deafness. The person who caught the dugong guarded the head safely to ensure that no one at e the ears and wore a garl and (locally known as voamora ) to avoid bad luck. The entrails of the d ugong were returned to the sea to prevent dogs scavenging on them. Nobody was allowed to joke or la ugh about the animal either when alive or dead and it was covered with a veil to protect its modesty. In terestingly, there were also taboos that restricted dugong exploitation, as in some places it was consider ed bad luck to catch more than one animal. Malagasy people in this region appeared to respect dugongs based on the taboos that society had associated with them. Taboos may have historically played a role in both directly and indirectly managing dugong captures. In the past marine protected area regulation s have been adopted as taboos and have resulted in positive conservation deve lopments. Fully involving community members, especially harnessing the knowledge of elders in education campaigns, co uld ensure that local traditions continue to play a key role in contemporary endangered species c onservation at the local level. This work was conducted in collaborati on with the University of Antsiranana, Centre Nationale de la Recherche Oceanographique (CNRO) and Madagascar National Pa rks. We are grateful to the Conservation Leadership Programme, Conventio n on Migratory Species and Mohamed bin Zayed Conservation Fund for financial support. Eleanor Cunningham (C3 Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands Programme), Patricia Davis (C3 Community Centred Conservation), and Ismael Leandre (C3 Madagascar and Indian Ocean Isla nds Programme ), email@example.com. MALI West African Manatee Training Workshop. A West African Manatee Re search and Conservation Training Workshop led by Lucy Keith was held in Djenn, Mali from 23-30 November 2010. Eleven participants attended from five c ountries: Mali, Chad, Ivory Coast, a nd Niger (see below for participant
Sirenews No. 55 14 April 2011 list). Manatee researcher Tomas Dia gne of Senegal also attended and assisted in all aspects of the workshop. Training included classroom instructio n on general manatee biol ogy and evolution, field research techniques, manatee conservation strategi es and management, fundraising techniques, use and care of field sampling equipment, demonstration of manatee necrops y procedures, biological sampling protocols, and opportunities for part icipants to ask questions. Field instruction activities took place on the inland Niger River delta and included practicing boat and villag e interview survey techniques, practice using field equipment and datasheets, and envi ronmental data collection. Participants also gave presentations to the group on manate e research in their home countries and shared their experiences. Training materials were pr ovided, including standardized datasheets, a French translation of the manatee necropsy guide, an aquatic plant identification guide CD, and instru ctional power point presentations developed in French and English. Field equipmen t was also provided for each country so that researchers are able to collect more accurate data on ce they return to their own study sites. Equipment included GPS units, binoculars, depth sounders, digita l thermometers, secchi disks, refractometers, headlamps, drybags, and waterproof logbooks. At th e end of the workshop participants completed evaluation forms and all rated the e ffectiveness of the training as very high. This workshop and future training sessions currently being planned are desi gned to continue regional training that was begun during previous workshops held in Ghana from 2 007-2009, and to continue build ing a cohesive regional network of African manatee researchers. The Mali wo rkshop and field equipment for participants were made possible by generous funding from the U.S. Marine Mammal Commissi on, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Disney Conservation Fund, Colu mbus Zoo Conservation Fund, and Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. Lucy Keith (EcoHealth Alliance, 233 Third Street North, Suite 300, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, keith @ecohealthalliance.org) Mali Workshop Participants Name Affiliation Lucy Keith EcoHealth Alliance, USA Alfousseini Semega L' Agence du Bassin du Fleuve Niger (ABFN), Bamako, Mali Abdoulaye Bin Guindo L' Agence du Bassin du Fleuve Niger (ABFN), Mopti, Mali Tomas Diagne Oceanium Dakar, Senegal Dr. Kouame Djaha Universit Abobo Ajam, Cte D'Ivoire Broulaye Diakit Eaux et Forets, Chef de Cantonnment Djenn, Mali Hamma Ba TSEF/Service local de la Pche, Djenn, Mali Operi Berthe L' Agence du Bassin du Fleuve Niger (ABFN), Kangaba, Mali Soumaila Berthe L' Agence du Bassin du Fleuve Niger (ABFN), San, Mali Diallo Boubacar Boureima Direction de la Faune, Chasse, et Aires Proteges, Niger Oumar Diaboite Eaux et Forets, Sofara, Mali Soumana Timbo Direction Nationale Eaux et Forets, Bamako, Mali Abakar Saleh Wachoum Chef de Secteur des Pches et de l'Aquaculture du Lac Lr, Chad
Sirenews No. 55 15 April 2011 West African Manatee Research and Conserva tion Training Workshop group photo, Djenn, Mali. ABSTRACTS Distribution of the Antillean Manatee, Trichechus manatus on the east coast of Cear state and west coast of Rio Grande do Norte state. Katherine Fiedler Choi1,2*; Thas Moura Campos1; Ana Carolina O. de Meirelles1; Cristine Pereira Negro Silva1; Alberto Alves Campos1; Denis Moledo de Souza Abessa2,3; Thiago Emanoel Bezerra da Costa4,5 1Associao de Pesquisa e Preserva o de Ecossistemas Aquticos AQUASIS. 2 Instituto de Cincias do Mar, Univer sidade Federal do Cear (LABOMAR-UFC). 3 Laboratrio de Gesto e Cons ervao Costeira, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). 4Projeto Cetceos da Costa Branca Univer sidade do Estado do Rio Grande do Norte. 5Programa de Ps-Graduao em Psicobiologia Un iversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte. *firstname.lastname@example.org Studies on the distribution of Antillean manatee, Trichechus manatus, in Brazil began in the 1970s, indicating that the species occurred discontinuously from the mout h of the river Doce (Northern ES) to So Luis (MA). In the late 1990 s, field assessments indicated that the species disappeared from ES, BA and SE states, and reported the species pres ence from Alagoas to Am ap, identifying three discontinuity areas: (1) Barra de Camaragibe (AL) to Recife (PE); (2) Iguape to Jericoacoara (CE); (3) Parnaba river delta to Lenis Ma ranhenses (PI-MA). In Cear, recent studies showed that the area of discontinuity in the state is even greater, as the species was only found to occur in Barroquinha municipality (West coastbordering Piau state) and three municipa lities on the East coast (Fortim, Aracati and Icapu). This study, aimed at updating the distribution of the Antillean manatee between Beberibe municipality (CE) and Touros (RN), is based on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of local fishers. Information was obtained from semi-struc tured interviews with 10% of the active fishers in the region. The key question used to determine mana tee distribution was "When was the last time you saw a manatee in the region?". Da ta analysis was essentially quali tative, and it was performed through the interpretation of the in terviewees narrative. The responses were divided into four area categories: sightings within less than two years were considered Current Occurrence ; sightings between two and
Sirenews No. 55 16 April 2011 five years old were considered Recent Occurrence ; sightings more than five years old were considered Historical Occurrence of the manatee; and Non Occurrence Six hundred and seventy eight interviews were conducted in 77 communities (averagi ng 8.8 interviews/community). Gaps in manatee occurrence in the study area were det ected, but since they were shorter than 25km, we have considered the species distribution as continuous, between Araca ti (CE, at 43126,6S/37 4204,3O) and Touros (RN, at 51503,7S/3523 35,7O). The results confirmed previous estimates for the di stribution of the manatee along the Rio Grande do Norte coast. In Fortim and Beberibe (CE), the species was not observed by the fishers in recent years. Thus the speci es occurrence in the East coast of Cear seems to be decreasing, indicating that effort s to conserve the Antillean manat ee in the region must be urgently improved, and more research is needed to better estimate the small remaining population, its trends and coastal habitat use. Key-words: Trichechus manatus distribution, traditional knowledge. Acknowledgments: This study was conducted by Aqua sis and was sponsored by the Fundao O Boticrio de Proteo Natureza, Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation and Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa (CNPq). It was only possible because of the partnerships with Projeto Cetceos da Costa Branca/UERN SESC/CE and Centro Mamferos Aquticos (CMA/ICMBio). Priority areas for Antillean manatee conservation on the east coast of Cear and west coast of Rio Grande do Norte states, NE Brazil. Thas Moura Campos1*; Katherine Fiedler Choi1; Ana Carolina Oliveira de Meirelles1; Cristine Pereira Negro Silva1; Alberto Alves Campos1; Thiago Emanoel Bezerra da Costa2 1Aquasis 2Projeto Cetceos da Costa Branca/UERN *email@example.com The Antillean Manatee, Trichechus manatus manatus is the most endangered marine mammal in Brazil. Current population estimates ranges from 200 to 500 animals, showing signals of decline (IUCN, 2010). Classified as CR in the Brazili an Red List and EN in the IUCN Red List, the species is a high priority conservation target in the country. The west coast of Rio Grande do Norte (RN) and the east coast of Cear state (CE) comprise the main area of newborn manatee stranding, the major threat to the species (Parente et al., 2004). This work gathered basic information about the species in this critical region in order to determine priority areas for ma natee conservation. Methods were adapted from The Nature Conservancy (Priority Setting Step of Conservation by Design; Chatwin, 2007), which identifies high priority places to ensure biodiversi ty conservation. The study area comprises the coastline between Beberibe (CE) and Tour os (RN) municipalities, with c. 500km of extension, divided in 83 coastal communities, with the presence of six estuar ies. According to Chatwin (2007), the tools needed to establish priorities, known as ecoregional assessm ent, are focused on answering four key-questions: (1) What should be protected?; (2) From what should it be protected?; (3) How much should be protected?; and (4) Where should it be protected?. Following this methodology, the establishment of manatee conservation priority ar eas was performed answering each question. Information about the species occurrence and potential area s of use were obtained. They were considered and crossed so it was possible to elect/choose levels of eco logical importance for the coastal zo ne of the study area (extremely high, very high, high and moderate). Each community was analyzed separate ly, according to the presence of manatee ecological at tributes, i.e., manatee occurrence, presence of seagrass meadows, freshwater sources and birth areas. Also, these attr ibutes were classified according to its current
Sirenews No. 55 17 April 2011 condition, vulnerability and abundan ce. Data gathered produce a raki ng of the communities, with an asymmetric continuum between suitable areas and those with ab sence of any of the ecological attributes. Results demonstrated that 48,2% of the communities have a high level of ecol ogical importance for the species. A map with priority areas for manatee cons ervation was produced, with 17 blocks of different priority levels distribute d in the study area, between extremely high, very high and high priority areas. The coast between eastern of Aracati (CE) and wester n of Icapu (CE), Areia Branca coast (RN) and So Miguel do Gostoso and Touros coast (RN) are the highe st priorities areas for manatee conservation in the region. They all have manatee ecological attributes, but differ on the intensity of threats, which should address different strategic act ions in each local. The next step to build a Conservation Plan for the Antillean Manatee in the area is to identify prio rity actions, time scale a nd stakeholders, addressing them for each community studied, according to manatee threats and de gree of priority. Key-words: manatee, priority areas, conservation. References CHATWIN, A. 2007. The Nature Co nservancys Marine Ecoregi onal Assessments Methodology in South American. In: CHATWIN, A. (Ed.). 2007. Priorities for Coasta l and Marine Conservation in South America. The Nature Conservancy, Virginia, EUA. 63p. IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.
Sirenews No. 55 18 April 2011 fortalecimiento cultural Asociacin Etnobiolgica Mxicana, A.C. (with Global Diversity Foundation, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Universida d Autnoma del Estado de Hidalgo, & Sociedad Latinoamericana de Etnobiologia): 396-401. Choi, K. F., T. M. Campos, A. C. O. de Meirelles, A. A. Campos, and M. B. Fernandes. 2009. Design of a wildlife refuge area for the conservation of the We st Indian manatee. Brazi lian Journal of Nature Conservation 7(2): 174-181. Hunter, M. E., N. E. Auil-Gomez, K. P. Tucker, R. K. Bonde, J. Powell and P. M. McGuire. 2010. Little genetic variation and evidence of li mited dispersal in the regionally important Belize manatee. Animal Conservation 13:592-602. Nico, L.G. 2010. Nocturnal and diurnal activity of armored suckermouth catfish (Loricariidae: Pterygoplichthys ) associated with wintering Florida manatees ( Trichechus manatus latirostris ). Neotropical Ichthyology 8: 893-898. Sarko, D.K., D. P. Domning, L. Marino, and R. L. R eep. 2010. Estimating body size of fossil sirenians. Marine Mammal Science 26(4): 937-959. Siegal-Willott, J. L., K. Harr, L. C. Hayek, K. C. Scott, T. Gerlach, P. Sirois, M. Reuter, D. W. Crewz and R. C. Hill. 2010. Proximate nutrient analyses of four species of subm erged aquatic vegetation consumed by Florida manatee ( Trichechus manatus latirostris ) compared to romaine lettuce ( Lactuca sativa var. longifolia ). Journal of Zoo and Wild life Medicine 41(4):594-602. Stith, B. M., J. P. Reid, C. A. Langtimm, E. D. Swain, T. J. Doyle, D. H.. Stone, J. D. Decker, and L. E. Soderqvist. 2011. Temperatur e inverted haloclines provide winter warm-water refugia for manatees in southwest Florida. Estuaries and Coasts 34(1):106-119. Vergara-Parente, J. E., C. L. Parente, M. Marmontel, J. C. R. Silva, and F. B. S. 2010. Growth curve of free-ranging Trichechus inunguis Biota Neotrop. 10(3). Vergara-Parente, J. E., C. L. Parente, M. Marmontel, J. C. R. Silva, and F. B. S. 2010. Standard of measurement among local inhabitants in the middle Solimes, Occidental Amazonia, and its use in morphometrics of Amazonian manatee ( Trichechus inunguis Natterer, 1883). UAKARI 6(2): 37-043. Wetzel, D. L., J. E. Reynolds III, J. M. Sprinkel, L. Schwacke, P. Mercurio and S. A. Rommel. 2010. Fatty acid profiles as a potential lipidomic biomarker of exposure to brevetoxin for endangered Florida manatees ( Trichechus manatus latirostris ). Science of the Total Environment 408(24): 6124-6133.
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