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Manatee mortality in Puerto Rico

Environmental Management

By:
, , , , ,
DOI: 10.1007/s002679910015

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Abstract

The most pressing problem in the effective management of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) in Puerto Rico is mortality due to human activities. We assessed 90 cases of manatee strandings in Puerto Rico based on historical data and a coordinated carcass salvage effort from 1990 through 1995. We determined patterns of mortality, including type of event, condition of carcasses, spatial and temporal distribution, gender, size/age class, and the cause of death. The spatial distribution of stranding events was not uniform, with the north, northeast, and south coasts having the highest numbers. Six clusters representing the highest incidence included the areas of Fajardo and Ceiba, Bahia de Jobos, Toa Baja, Guayanilla, Cabo Rojo, and Rio Grande to Luquillo. The number of reported cases has increased at an average rate of 9.6%/yr since 1990. The seasonality of stranding events showed a bimodal pattern, from February through April and in August and September. Most identified causes of death were due to human interaction, especially captures and watercraft collisions. Natural causes usually involved dependent calves. From 1990 through 1995, most deaths were attributed to watercraft collisions. A reduction in anthropogenic mortality of this endangered species can be accomplished only through education and a proactive management and conservation plan that includes law enforcement, mortality assessment, scientific research, rescue and rehabilitation, and inter- and intraagency cooperation.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Manatee mortality in Puerto Rico
Series title:
Environmental Management
DOI:
10.1007/s002679910015
Volume
25
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer-Verlag New York
Publisher location:
New York, NY, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
189
Last page:
198
Number of Pages:
10