Rare Belize Manatee Sighting Caught on Video at Blackbird Resort

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ManateeBelize is home to a sub-species of the West Indian manatee, one of four living species of manatees. The other three are the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee and the dugong. The West Indian  manatee is divided into two species, Florida & Antillean. Manatees thrive in warm waters due to its slow metabolism. Because of year-round Caribbean waters, the Antillean  manatee does not need to migrate as the Floridian manatee does when the temperature drops below 86 degrees.

In the US, West Indian manatees are protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Florida species specifically have suffered human-related injury or death due to pollution, boating accidents and ingestion of fish hooks, litter and monofilament line. The Antillean manatee found in Belize has suffered less due to lesser population of watercraft, however, it is listed as endangered under Belize’s Wildlife Protection Act of 1981.

An adult manatee averages 10 feet in length and weighs between 800-1200 pounds. These slow-moving, gentle creatures spend their time eating, traveling or resting in shallow waters. Manatees are herbivores; munching on seagrass and other plant life, resembling cows that graze for much of the day on land, bestowing upon them the nickname “sea cow”.  Since manatees are mammals they must surface for air. When exerting energy eating or playing, this could be as often as every 30 seconds, or when resting they can remain submerged for up to 20 minutes.

Having no known natural enemies, they may live as long as 60 years and generally travel solo. Females mature at around five years and give birth every two to five years to usually one calf, who is born measuring two to four feet and weighing between 6o-70 pounds. They stay with mommy up to three years before moving on their own.

In the past, manatees were often mistaken for mermaids by the first Europeans to discover them. However, upon getting a closer look, they were disappointed to discover they were not quite the alluring, mysterious half-woman, half-fish creatures of mythical fairytales.

Seeing and filming one of these intriguing creatures is a rare treat and our very own Divemaster Cardinal, who has been with us for over 5 years, has never spotted one. Many thanks to our guest Dave Runnalls who was able to capture this amazing footage last week during a dive trip to the Great Blue Hole! Please enjoy our video and be sure to learn more about the Belizean manatee by visiting Wildtracks, a non-profit organization formed in 1996 dedicated to “Conservation, Education & Research.”

 

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Tierney Thys, National Geographic Expedition Leader Visits Blackbird Caye

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barrier1Come join our Belize Island Resort for an epic Belize Vacation Package! Guests from across the globe rave about our luxurious accommodations and marvel at our Ocean wonders! Learn more about the area as explained by Tierney Thys, National Geographic Expedition Leader, Marine Biologist and Filmmaker.

The National Geographic Expedition groups travel to the ends of the earth to places where the guests can experience cultural tours, safaris and journeys to the world’s most astonishing places. This year we are proud to know that the trip to Blackbird Caye Resort was the #1 expedition booked and the #1 to sell out of all the student expeditions offered worldwide.

Teirney found the area of Turneffe Atoll to be an excellent balance between an aquatic resource for first timers as well as for experts alike. She also explains that the area is rich in adventure and that the pristine waters and bountiful marine at Blackbird Caye Resort create the perfect conditions for many species to survive and thrive in these waters. As a marine biologist she feels ecstatic seeing the youth wanting to get involved in learning how to help in the preservation of the ocean and how they want to understand more about its importance in relation to our existence on earth. It is through further understanding of the ocean and marine life that we can ensure it will remain a resource for future generations.

We are all aware that not only climate changes affect our oceans but that there are other problems offsetting its balance such as pollution, acidification, lack of fish, desertification, and global warming, but Teirney found the area where our Belize Resort is to be a shot of adrenaline to a previously dismal outlook. The area of Turneffe where Blackbird Caye Resort is located plays home to many ocean studies and research. There are routine reef audits, dolphin research by the Oceanic Society, and many more projects aimed at preserving our natural resources. Belize is playing an important role by taking ownership & pride in being part of the solution for conserving the World’s Oceans for future generations. The ocean is the vascular system of the Earth and brings life to all of its inhabitants. Turneffe, Belize has been making excellent progress with coral coverage and we have tracked reduction in the algae population from previous levels. This progress is bringing new hope to Belize and is a model for other oceanic communities.

The staff and dive masters at Blackbird Caye Resort are professional and highly knowledgeable. Their level of expertise provided the expedition group leaders of these expeditions with a break so they could enjoy the area and relax while the students discover an amazing world underneath all its beauty. Blackbird Caye Resort is located in one of the most amazing natural habitats in the world and provides divers with endless wonders to enjoy.

Call Blackbird Caye today for your next Belize Resort Experience. We offer the best Belize Packages, Adventures, and family vacations. Most people visit us for Belize Diving and Belize Snorkeling, but you’re welcome to relax on the beach and disconnect from the rat race, take it easy; if that’s what you’re looking for.

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