Fewer than 1,000 Antillean manatees remain in the Belize's coastal waters. Our chance to save them is now!
The Antillean manatee is considered globally endangered, and in Belize, is being pressured by watercraft collisions and the increasing threats to the coastal environment. Over the last five years, Belize has seen a marked increase in the number of manatee strandings, with 40 deaths recorded in 2015, and five manatees currently in the Manatee Rehabilitation Centre at Wildtracks. This rate of loss, linked primarily to tourism watercraft use in the Belize River, is not sustainable. With the development of two new cruise ship terminals in Belize, both in key manatee areas, the threat to the regional viability of this species is increasing.
In the last sixteen years:
17 manatees have entered the Wildtracks Rehabilitation Centre
6 manatees have been successfully released back into the wild, and 5 in care pending their release dates.
Since 2008, Wildtracks has had an exceptional success rate in rearing orphaned manatee calves and achieves one of the highest post-release survival rates for this species.
Wildtracks operates the Manatee Rehabilitation Centre under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Belize Forest Department. It collaborates with other stakeholders as a member of the National Manatee Working Group, an advisory committee to the Forest Department, and hosted under the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute.
Wildtracks also partners with the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development, providing this community-based protected area co-management organization with technical support for manatee conservation in one of Belize’s key manatee areas – Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary - building community capacity for effective management, strengthened protocols and data analysis for aerial surveys, water quality monitoring and monitoring of seagrass and coastal development.