- Title: Fishermen and residents of Cuba's coast join forces â€‹to protect manatees
- Date: 11th October 2021
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (OCTOBER 6, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) RESIDENT OF COASTAL NEIGHBOURHOOD, YANET JORGE DIAZ, SAYING: "The truth is that no one should harm them, because they don't mess with anyone, they don't hurt anyone. They should be looked after, they should be cared a lot because they really are very beautiful. People think they are ugly but they are very beautiful, they are very kind and very docile. They don't hurt anyone and they are in danger of extinction."
- Embargoed: 25th October 2021 15:41
- Keywords: Cuba Havana Manatees animals wildlife
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Environment,South America / Central America,Nature/Wildlife
- Reuters ID: LVA007EYPQQ87
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Fishermen and residents of the coastal town of Santa Fe, in Havana, join forces to protect manatees, a species of marine fauna that is in a very critical situation.
Sighted in several coastal cities in Cuba, the West Indian manatee, as the species is called in the surrounding Caribbean nations, is a mammal that lives in shallow waters, estuaries (where rivers meet the sea), and other tropical areas.
This mammal can be found in both salty and fresh waters, mainly in river mouths.
Their slow movements have made them an easy species to be caught by illegal fishermen who sell its meat as a delicacy in the regions where it lives.
Experts consider manatees to be true jewels of marine biodiversity. They have an average lifespan of around 35 years and usually reach up to 1,500 kilograms in weight and between four and six metres in length, according to specialists.
"When you film a positive encounter with this type of endangered species, it is more likely that people will not see it as a simple piece of meat, but as a wonderful animal that needs to be protected," biologist and environmental activist Lorena Gonzalez told Reuters.
Although there has been a decrease in sightings in the Cuban archipelago for years, they have been observed more frequently in certain areas.
For example, on the north and south coast of Pinar del RÃo, on the Isle of Youth, in the north of Matanzas province and Villa Clara, as well as at the mouth of the Cauto river and Guantanamo Bay, in the far east of the country.
"Here we don't touch them (referring to the manatee). Sometimes they stick to the bridge and we pour water on them because it even drinks water. Harmless as such. But it is not an animal that attracts our attention as an aggressive animal. Nobody hurts it here," said fisherman Carlos Castillo at the pier of the fishing base.
(Production: Nelson Gonzalez, Mario Fuentes, Anett Rios, Ramos Liamar, Eva Weininger)
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