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Open Access Status and conservation of manatees in Cuba: historical observations and recent insights

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The Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus Linnaeus, 1758) is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because of reduced numbers and habitat loss. Existing information about this species in Cuba is limited, but it can be synthesized into useful guidance for strategies to protect and rehabilitate this population. Anthropogenic threats have been reported to have had detrimental effects on manatees since 1970, with a major factor being illegal hunting. Information obtained through interviews of fishers, and boat and aerial surveys has identified the Ensenada de la Broa and Hatiguanico River on the Zapata Peninsula as important areas for manatees. Historically, manatees frequented rivers and other freshwater habitats, but currently they are encountered primarily in estuarine and coastal waters, which makes availability of fresh water an important consideration. There is a pressing need to gather additional and more reliable data on the abundance, distribution, and health of Antillean manatees in Cuba as a basis for more effective and efficient initiatives to protect and rehabilitate this population.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, Universidad de La Habana, Calle 16 # 114 entre 1ra y 3ra Plaza, Havana, Cuba, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, 103 Black Hall, Gainesville, Florida 32611; , [email protected], Email: [email protected] 2: Refugio de Fauna Lanzanillo-Pajonal-Fragoso, Empresa Provincial para la Protección de la Flora y la Fauna, Villa Clara, Cuba 3: Empresa Nacional para la Protección de la Flora y la Fauna, Havana, Cuba 4: Parque Nacional Cayos de San Felipe, Empresa Provincial para la Protección de la Flora y la Fauna, Pinar del Río, Cuba 5: El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unidad Tapachula, Carretera Antiguo Aeropuerto Km 2.5. Ap 36, Tapachula, Chiapas CP 30700, Mexico 6: Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, Empresa Provincial para la Protección de la Flora y la Fauna, Matanzas, Cuba 7: Sea to Shore Alliance, 4411 Bee Ridge Road #490, Sarasota, Florida 34233 8: Soil and Water Sciences Department, 2181 McCarty Hall A, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611 9: School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, 103 Black Hall, Gainesville, Florida 32611

Publication date: 01 April 2018

This article was made available online on 20 December 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Status and conservation of manatees in Cuba: historical observations and recent insights".

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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