The manatee release could not have happened without an incredible amount of support!
On the ground here in Iquitos, we were supported by Diogo de Souza, a specialist in Amazonian Manatees; MVZ Edmundo Parada, our own vet; Dr Jose Nolasco, our partner vet in Iquitos; Dr Gemma Campling and Bailey Romi RVTg, experienced vet from Worldwide Vets along with vet students, who all played a part in monitoring the manatees in transit.
Our incredible Peruvian team caught and carried our manatees to freedom. Not only did we have our full-time workers, but also the support of those who came together to help us transport them.
A boat filled with children from a local village close to the liberation site had the opportunity to not only see and touch a manatee, but also ask questions to both our specialist Diogo and the Director of RAREC, John Garnica. They recieved expert advice on how to save this species, treat the environment and the role they play within this. Thank you to the community of San Juan de Yanayacu who will continue to learn from us through regular environmental education workshops.
A great thank you to Alfredo Dosantos and Grand Amazon Lodge who have given food and board to our interns to be able to carry out the monitoring of the manatees for the next two years. Thank you to Sarah Farinelli , an expert in tracking and monitoring manatees, who has been teaching our interns Janelly and Stephanie how to carry out the research and will be supporting the continued project for the upcoming years.
After a long period of rehabilitation, we released two manatees back into the wild last week after years of hard work and preparation!
Since 2015, RAREC has been rehabilitating Greg and Jennifer, a pair of rescued Amazonian manatees who had been kept as pets inside a home. Once the manatees were ready to be released, RAREC identified an appropriate release site and worked with locals to ensure the release would be successful. In addition to their rescue and rehabilitation efforts, RAREC supports the local community by providing educational workshops and alternative income sources (like making and selling manatee keychains) to prevent illegal hunting.
Amazonian manatees are considered vulnerable to extinction, and this release marked the start of a two-year-long research project to monitor the manatees' daily movements. Since little is known about Amazonian manatees, RAREC hopes this research will shed light on the species' movement behaviors and environmental factors affecting them.
Greg and Jennifer, whose names are in honor of Dr. Gregory Bossart and his wife Jennifer Bossart. Dr. Gregory Bossart was a very well-known researcher in the field of aquatic mammals and supported RAREC in many technical inquiries in times of need.
We have three more rehabilitated manatees living independently in our lake:
Rick, named after Mr. Rick Schwartz, President of the Nashville Zoo, an institution that has been our principal support in our conservation efforts.
Bui, named after Bui Simon an advocate for children education around the world, and Maynas our youngest manatees, who were successfully weaned in 2020.
And of course, the new rescued, Newt, who still has to go through a rehabilitation period of at least 3 to 4 years to be ready for release
We will be releasing our manatees into Reserves in the Amazon Rainforest hoping that they reproduce and continue their species. We have the support of specialists from Brasil and USA who are assisting us in the release and monitoring them while in the wild. We hope that our findings will contribute to the conservation of their species. Our ally in conservation, the Grand Amazon Lodge, will be our research base in the post-liberation monitoring of the manatees to ensure their well-being and establish greater knowledge of the Amazonian manatees' life in their natural habitat. The facilities of the lodge in the Yanayacu River have been instrumental in enabling our biologists to conduct valuable research in tracking our rehabilitated Amazon manatees, Gregory and Jennifer.
We couldn't have done it without the wonderful team at Grand Amazon Lodge, who generously facilitated our research and provided an unforgettable experience for our team in the Amazon rainforest.
Our partner community, the Yanayacu village in the Amazon, has been working with us for years to make this possible. We're so proud of them, and we want to support them too.
That's why we're offering these beautiful manatee keychains, handcrafted by the community, to help them continue caring for the manatees post release and support themselves. By purchasing these keychains we empower the community, they have money in their pockets to buy gasoline, to upkeep their boat motors, and feed their families. We need them to be stable to monitor the massive lakes Gregory and Jennifer will live in. We need to make sure poachers do not even think about entering our lakes.
Want to get involved? Join us at one of our partner lodges in the Amazon and participate in scientific research and see first hand the community with our personal monitoring Gregory and Jennifer for the following two years. Or show your support by buying a keychain and spreading the word. Let's make a positive impact together!
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