Amazonian Manatee - Manati | Manatees or manatis seem to have sprung from the fantasies of early seafarers and are considered the origin of mermaids.
The Amazon manatee (Trichechus inunguis) or manatee is the smallest of the manatee species and the only one that is exclusively at home in fresh water. The body is barrel-shaped and colored in various shades of gray. The belly is spotted with white in the Amazonian manatee. The caudal fin is round, the front fins are more elongated than in the other manatee species and nails are absent. The whole body is covered with fine hairs, around the mouth are thicker tactile hairs.
The distribution area extends to the Amazon and Orinoco river systems. The animals prefer to stay in black water lakes and lagoons. Amazonian manatees are often found in small groups of 4 - 8 animals. However, when the rivers have less water during the dry season, large groups of manatees may congregate in the deeper lakes and riverine areas.
Manatees are pure herbivores, grazing up to 8 hours a day and can eat up to 15 percent of their own body weight in aquatic plants.
After a gestation period of 12 - 14 months, 1 young is born. As with all manatee species and also with the closest relatives, the elephants, the teats are located between the forelimbs.
The greatest threats to Amazonian manatees lie in industrialization, extraction of raw materials and the associated changes to their habitats, as well as the progressive pollution of the waters. Increasing shipping traffic also increases the risk of collision with watercraft.
YAQU PACHA is currently implementing a species conservation project for manatees in Venezuela in collaboration with PROYECTO SOTALIA.