The Manatee: New National Symbol of Costa Rica

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Congress has approved the first reading of the declaration to make the manatee a new national symbol. This species is endangered and lives in the Caribbean of the country, including the Wildlife Refuge Barra del Colorado and Tortuguero.

    For the deputy of the Frente Amplio, José Ramírez, this declaration is of utmost importance for the conservation of the species in the country.

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    “The rich biodiversity of the species is no secret to anyone, all should be protected and respected, this initiative is part of the record 17984, and consists of the declaration of the manatee as a national symbol. The manatee is a species that grows endemic in certain areas of Costa Rica and is a species that is in danger of extinction, as it has a rather slow process of reproduction.”

    The lawmaker explained that this was an initiative of the School in the Limoncito area, and is very important because it helps young people to begin to understand the meaning of fellowship and protection of all the species that inhabit the country.

    He added that one should reassert the importance of the participation of children or young people who want to make proposals in the legislative plenary.

    Ramirez added that heads of fraction analyzed a group of projects that have time to be archived, this declaration was considered feasible by which it was voted.

    The lawmaker added that the state must take into account existing marine and coastal resources in the area and create a marine protected area for manatees. He furthermore explained that the most important thing is the inclusion of this in a general plan, which he says should be included in the curriculum for elementary schools as from there, youth and children understand the importance of the species.

    Meanwhile, Donald Campbell, Regional Director of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) of Limón in Matina Subregion, explained that according to a study called Cranes Marino 2, he found that there is a gap of marine conservation in the National Park Cahuita and Refugio Nacional Gandoca Joint Manzanillo.

    This study by the Costa Rica Foundation got the resources to undertake a Foundation Manatee Trichecus diagnosis in the surface of the site, where they could see that there are sightings of this species, and properly in the Sixaola River and its outlets there is a conducive area to the breeding of the species.

    However, this is only a diagnosis, they are currently awaiting the final study which will dictate the strategy to take over the management of some sea animals, including manatees, lobster and other species that are of conservation.

    Campbell explained that early last century African-Caribbean people made ​​frequent use of this species, due to the belief that it had seven different meats depending on the cut to be made​​; according to them, it had the meat of fish, lobster, beef, hence the name sea cow. Campbell explained that it is possible that these customs may decrease and will cause an increase in the animal’s presence in the Caribbean of Costa Rica.

    What we are trying to conserve currently is the species, as it is ecologically important for the control of many ecosystems.

    Manatees are species that grow in fresh or saltwater, their absence could cause an imbalance in the coastal lagoon systems. They have an average lifespan of between 70 and 75 years, can weigh between two and three thousand kilos and measure between three and five meters. This species produces only one offspring in its life, which is fed with the mother’s milk.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose, Costa Rica

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