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1 January 2014 Documenting Manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) Presence at Turneffe Atoll, Belize, Central America and its Conservation Significance
Holly H. Edwards, Suzanne B. P. Stone, Ellen M. Hines, Nicole Auil Gomez, Birgit E. Winning
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Abstract

Belize in Central America supports one of the largest populations of endangered Antillean manatees in the Caribbean. In 2012, a country—wide survey resulted in the highest count ever recorded (507 manatees). Manatee use of atolls has only been documented at Turneffe Atoll in Belize. Manatees in Belize, including those that use Turneffe, have been shown to be impacted by human activities including habitat degradation, entanglement in fishing gear, poaching, and watercraft. The atoll itself faces threats to its diversity and productivity. In 2002, the Oceanic Society began monitoring manatees on Turneffe to document numbers, distribution, and seasonality of use to facilitate the atoll's designation as a protected area. Since 2002, 52 sightings of manatees have been recorded at Turneffe, including cow/calf pairs, indicating it is an important part of the resource network used by the manatees. Protecting the atoll should be a priority for all working to protect manatees and Belize's natural resources.

Copyright 2014 College of Arts and Sciences University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Holly H. Edwards, Suzanne B. P. Stone, Ellen M. Hines, Nicole Auil Gomez, and Birgit E. Winning "Documenting Manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) Presence at Turneffe Atoll, Belize, Central America and its Conservation Significance," Caribbean Journal of Science 48(1), 71-75, (1 January 2014). https://doi.org/10.18475/cjos.v48i1.a12
Published: 1 January 2014
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
aerial surveys
Antillean manatee
Belize
protected areas
Turneffe Atoll
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