Some manatees surprised a neighbor in the Tortuguero National Park, who observed a group of males trying to copulate with a female; an unprecedented sighting in the country, due to the difficulty of observing this species.
The National University of Costa Rica (UNA) reported this week the sighting recorded on January 22nd, when a resident of the community of San Francisco in Tortuguero was visiting the canals, where he spotted the group.
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“It is a strange event because manatees are very difficult to observe. This is a group of males of between 5 and 6 individuals trying to copulate with a female. It is also one of the few times when manatees form groups, the other time is when the mother accompanies her calf, otherwise, their behavior is more individual. It is observed that they are healthy and robust individuals, which could indicate that the Tortuguero National Park offers them adequate conditions for their survival”, explained Alexander Gómez, a manatee specialist researcher from the School of Biological Sciences of the National University.
A national symbol
The manatee is a symbol of the marine fauna of Costa Rica and of the hope and interest of Costa Rican children in the protection of the natural resources present in the national territory since 2014.
About 20 years ago this species was considered extinct in the country, however, lately, continuous sightings have been reported in the Caribbean area, which represents some indications of its recovery.
The person in charge of the Tortuguero National Park Tourism Program, Andrés González Castro, recalled that the only predator of the manatee is man, and its survival is also threatened by deforestation, sedimentation, climate change, and uncontrolled expansion of monocultures such as pineapple. Therefore, he reminded the population of good practices to protect the animal.
Protecting the species
“It is important that they know that one of the main threats to these mammals is the rapid transit of boats and the propellers that can cut their bodies. We would like to make a call to slow down when traveling through the channels of the Northeast Caribbean and also to maintain a distance of at least 10 meters to respect their behavior and we can observe this wonderful spectacle.