Featured Image Credit: rainforestcruises.com
By: Sarah Sharkey
The Dallas World Aquarium has put together a team of biologists, conservationists and veterinarians to rescue five Amazonian manatees. The manatees will be rehabilitated and released in their home near Iquitos, Peru. The released manatees are fitted with nondescript tracking belts that will fall off within three months and hopefully not draw any unwanted attention towards these huge animals.
Why do this manatees need rescuing? The residents of a small village have been eating their mothers. The villagers were mistakenly under the impression that the manatees were eating their fish, so they decided to eat them in retaliation. Manatees actually only eat vegetation, so there is no competition between the diets of manatees and Amazonian villagers.
The manatees that have been rescues are mostly baby manatees that have lost their mothers. The villagers trap and eat the mothers, leaving the calves to fend for themselves. Without their mothers, the babies would likely die because of lack of proper nutrition.
The CEO of the Dallas Aquarium believes that educating the people on manatees may help the situation. If they realize that manatees aren’t eating their food, then perhaps they will stop harpooning and eating them. The story of saving these manatees will be documented in detail on a BBC film series, Earth from Space.
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