Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Threats to the species include increasing risk of boat strikes because of the increasing numbers of recreational boaters, and destruction and modification of manatee habitat.
The manatee is receiving increased protection from several sources. The Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a project using satellite telemetry to study manatee movements and habitat use in eastern Puerto Rico. The Service is also conducting quarterly aerial surveys to monitor habitat use and abundance. A recently formed non-profit group, the Caribbean Stranding Network, assists the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources and the Service in conducting salvage and rescue of manatees and other marine life (sea turtles, marine mammals, shorebirds). The Caribbean Stranding Network also assists in determining the causes of death for these species. Education about the manatee is conducted at local universities by the Service, Puerto Rico Conservation Foundation, and Caribbean Stranding Network. Formal section 7 consultations on manatees have resulted in jeopardy opinions for marinas on the southeast and south coast of Puerto Rico.
The work of the Caribbean Stranding Network will continue to be needed, as well as monitoring of the manatee population and protection of its habitat.
In FY 1992, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources received $5,000 for aerial surveys to monitor the manatee.
Department of the Navy: One of the largest concentrations of manatees occurs in the waters adjacent to the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. The Navy is requesting funds to construct a lookout, and has funded Service studies of habitat use.
Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources: To protect the manatee, this agency reviews development projects, conducts education activities and, through its Ranger Corps, regulates boating activities.
Puerto Rico Conservation Foundation: This organization conducts education activities on the manatee through local universities.
Caribbean Stranding Network: This private organization conducts salvage and rescue work as needed and determines causes of deaths. With financial assistance from the Fish and Wildlife Service, private donors, and other agencies, the Network is caring for a young manatee that became separated from its mother.
Chelonia Society: This private organization routinely participates in educational activities and posts manatee awareness signs.
Plan approved 12/24/86.