Iquitos, Peru – June 30, 2023 – The 9th Manatee Release took place on Tuesday, June 27 at Tapaje Lagoon, located in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Communal Regional Conservation Area. This momentous event showcased the ongoing collaboration between the Amazon Rescue Center (CREA) and The Dallas World Aquarium Zoo (DWAZoo), under the leadership of Daryl Richardson, in their dedicated efforts to protect and conserve the noble Amazonian manatee species.
Weighing up to 300 kg, the Amazonian manatee is the largest aquatic mammal in the Peruvian Amazon. This gentle giant heavily relies on its mother during the first years of life, feeding on her milk, and transitions to consuming aquatic plants as it grows.
Regrettably, the Amazonian manatee has been a victim of indiscriminate hunting for centuries, with the calves falling prey to ruthless pet trade in recent years. However, through the unwavering commitment of CREA and DWAZoo, three manatees were successfully released during this event, marking a total of 31 manatees released since 2007.
Mayo, a male manatee, rescued on October 7, 2020, in the Putumayo River area, overcame significant health challenges during his seven-month recovery. Suffering from a harpoon wound in his peduncle, approximately 14 centimeters deep and infected, Mayo’s survival was uncertain at times. However, his resilience prevailed, and he was released in optimal health. Estimated to be around 3 years old, Mayo is classified as a juvenile manatee, ready to flourish in his natural habitat once again.
Remansa, a female manatee rescued on February 28, 2023, represents a triumph in the fight for manatee conservation in the Amazon region. Captured with a net, Remansa suffered multiple wounds on her body, as well as the mutilation of the edge of a fin and holes in her tail. After receiving necessary veterinary treatment, she was prepared to return to her natural habitat at approximately 3 and a half years old.
Tahuayo, a male manatee rescued on April 2, 2016, endured numerous challenges, including being transported in a plastic bag. With an impressive size of 120 kg and nearly two meters in length, Tahuayo is the largest manatee released during this event. His recovery process involved feeding on milk and later transitioning to aquatic plants. Fortunately, his growth remained uncomplicated, making him one of CREA’s most successful manatee recovery cases.
The success of each released manatee stands as a testament to the years of dedicated work by numerous individuals and institutions. Javier Velásquez, director of CREA, expressed gratitude for the indispensable support of the Dirección Regional de la Producción de Loreto (DIREPRO) and the Gerencia Regional Ambiental (GRAM). Their involvement proved crucial to the success of this conservation effort. The presence of these regional authorities at the release event further reinforced their commitment to protecting fauna and the Amazon ecosystem.
DWAZoo representatives were also present during the event, personally supervising the condition of the manatees to ensure their optimal readiness for returning to their natural habitat. Their expertise and dedication played a vital role in guaranteeing the health and well-being of the released manatees.
The collaboration of numerous local and foreign volunteers who joined CREA in rescuing and rehabilitating manatees and other Amazonian species proved invaluable throughout the entire process.
Prior to the release, educational workshops on manatees and the conservation of the Amazon ecosystem were conducted in the communities of the Tahuayo River basin. These initiatives are part of CREA’s educational program called Richardson Amazonian Outreach (RAO) and have actively engaged community leaders committed to protecting local fauna.
While the manatees have returned to their home, the CREA team remains fully dedicated to their ongoing protection. Continuous monitoring of the manatees’ progress will be conducted in the release area for months. Transmitters have been attached to their tails to track their development and ensure their successful adaptation to the new environment.
The release of the Amazonian manatees marks a significant milestone in the protection of these magnificent creatures. However, the battle to eradicate the trafficking of wild species in the Amazon continues. CREA and DWAZoo, supported by their partners and passionate advocates, remain resolute in their mission to safeguard the Amazonian manatees and preserve the extraordinary ecosystem they inhabit.
ABOUT THE DALLAS WORLD AQUARIUM
Since 1992, The Dallas World Aquarium (DWA) has welcomed guests from around the globe to share in its commitment to increasing biodiversity, protecting endangered species, and preserving natural habitats. DWA actively supports conservation efforts in five countries, across two continents, and has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1997. The Dallas World Aquarium has been a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) since 2000. For more information visit www.dwazoo.com.