Belize: Pregnant Adult Manatee with fully developed fetus found dead near Hopkins, Government of Belize informed on the evening of April 21, 2021.
On the evening of April 19, 2021, the Belize Fisheries Department received reports of an Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) washed ashore near Hopkins. Partners of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network were able to obtain assistance to take initial photographs of the dead manatee.
On 20 April 2021, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Research Institute, with help from the Hopkins community, were able to carry out a complete autopsy on the adult female who was pregnant with a fully developed fetus.
The autopsy findings were consistent with blunt force trauma due to watercraft impact; therefore, the cause of death was ruled as a watercraft related incident.
This is a significant loss as manatees have low reproductive rates; researchers say breeding females give birth to on average one calf every two to five years. The gestation period is about a year. Intervals between the births range from 2 to 5 years.
The Fisheries Department reminds boaters to take necessary precautions, especially when in No Wake Zones, to use marked channels and be very cautious when navigating in known manatee areas. The Department is currently working with partners to implement measures to address the threat of boat collisions with manatees urgently.
The public is also reminded that the Antillean manatee is a critically endangered species and is fully protected under section 88 of the Fisheries Resources Act No. 7 of 2020.
The Fisheries Department informed that “the public to report any incidents involving manatees by calling telephone number 224 4552 or by emailing [email protected]”
Besides this Government of Belize, with support from the Central Bank, will launch the Covid-19 Emergency Business Financing Program, providing $50m of low-interest loans for up to 200 business, prioritizing export and job-intensive enterprise; loans are for 5 years, at 5% interest, for small, medium and large companies.
Aiming to alleviate some pressure off of those businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. This will also allow for some jobs to come back and get the economy rolling, PM John Briceno stated.