Kralendijk- This morning, July 10th, STINAPA ranger Luigi Eybrecht filmed a West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) swimming in the Bonaire National Marine Park.
This very well may be the first confirmed sighting of a manatee in Bonaire. Manatees are harmless marine mammals, also called ‘sea cows’, that feed on marine plants including sea grass, algae and even mangrove leaves. It is believed that they frequented these waters hundreds of years ago, but due to population declines, are seldom seen in current times.
The West Indian manatee subspecies is endangered with an estimated population of 2500 mature individuals, although very little is known about their population and distribution.