This Wednesday, July 14, the Magdalena Regional Autonomous Corporation (Corpamag) reported that Julieta, a manatee who had been released by the entity on July 7 in the Caribbean Sea, was killed by fishermen from the Tasajera district.
The entity announced that, according to initial reports, a group of fishermen from this town, north of the Caribbean department, chased the 450-kilogram animal to the town of Pueblo Viejo where they captured it, tied its trunk to prevent it from breathing, and attacked it. with sticks and machetes causing serious injuries that led to his death.
“We regret the attack and the subsequent death of Julieta, the manatee released on July 7 off the coast of Santa Marta. by Corpamag, the Rodadero Aquarium and the Omacha Foundation. We reject these types of events that threaten wildlife, and we reiterate our call to their care, “said the Ministry of the Environment.
According to Corpamag, some local fishermen denounced these reprehensible acts of cruelty to the entity, which allowed a team of fauna to reach this sector for their rescue, however, officials found the manatee with deep wounds on the body and a harpoon punch on one of his sides, which is why he died on the spot.
Later, Julieta was transferred by the team to the entity’s Center for Attention, Assessment and Rehabilitation of Marine Fauna, which operates in the Rodadero Aquarium, where specialists continue with the necropsy of the mammal.
The authorities The pertinent investigations are being carried out to determine the perpetrators of this serious crime that will be punished. with the intention that it does not go unpunished, noting that manatees are a species that is in the category ‘vulnerable to extinction’ and that it has an important ecological value.
“The Magdalena Regional Autonomous Corporation rejects this cruel act towards Julieta and towards all forms of life that inhabit the department of Magdalena. We call on the population so that these species, of great ecological value, protect themselves and a situation as sad as today will not be repeated.“Said the entity in a statement.
Similarly, he reported that this Caribbean species (Trichechus manatus) is highly threatened in the country and in the world, currently having a very small population due to indiscriminate hunting, which is why the national government and environmental authorities maintain protection programs to prevent its extinction.
Julieta was a specimen of 3.35 meters in total length and 450 kilograms of weight that had been trapped in the fishermen’s nets on June 5, in the sector of the beaches of Bonito Gordo, in the Tayrona National Natural Park, in the department of Magdalena. After being rescued by fishermen in the area, in collaboration with Corpamag and the Rodadero Aquarium, she was released into the waters of the Caribbean.
The Magdalena Regional Autonomous Corporation indicated on that occasion that for the stabilization of Julieta a team of experts from Co and National Natural Parks was formed, which had the scientific advice of the Omacha Foundation and the Caribbean Manatee Conservation Center ( CCM), organizations that have almost 30 years in rehabilitation programs for these mammals.
The recovery took a month, after observation, attention and treatment, Julieta was ready to return to her habitat, with a VHF and satellite tracking strap, which allowed her to have information about her movements, being the first time that it was carried out. this experience in the area.
In the same way, the importance of this special at the environmental level and the ecosystem of the Caribbean Sea is highlighted, since can be considered as “ecosystem engineers”, This is due to the intake of large amounts of seagrass and floating freshwater plants (buchón or taruya, water lettuce, batatilla) that they use for their daily diet and that can be 10% of their weight which, in Julieta’s case, it corresponds to about 45kg.
According to CORPAMAG, this consumption of grass by the Julieta species allows the bodies of water to be kept free of buchón, an invasive species that normally plugs the channels of rivers and pipes that enter the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta and that represents the first problem that prevents navigability and leads to the sedimentation of these water passages. Likewise, they are considered as indicators of the health of the ecosystems where they live.
Julieth Prietom, marine biologist at CORPAMAG, said in an interview with the Opinion Caribe portal that in the midst of this work, there was collaboration from research groups in the country, which helped with their scientific advice. In addition, he highlighted the collaboration of universities such as Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Los Andes and Magdalena.