Rescue and handling of Antillean manatees Trichechus manatus manatus in Venezuela 1992–2014
Given the importance of the rescue and rehabilitation of confiscated manatees from illegal traffic or accidental fishery entanglements, the handling and transport of two Antillean manatees Trichechus manatus manatus in the ‘Llanos’ of Apure state in Venezuela is described. In 1992, two ♀ calves were confiscated in the region of Arichuna in the Apure River and transported to a lagoon at the Fondo Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Biruaca, for rehabilitation. Data about age, size, weight and haematological values were recorded. In 1994, one of the manatees was transferred to the Parque Zoologico y Botanico Bararida, Barquisimeto, in order to form a breeding pair and start a captive-breeding programme. Successful reproduction was achieved in 2007, 2011 and 2013. In 1995, the second ♀ Antillean manatee was released into a natural environment in Santa Luisa Cattle Ranch, Apure state. The confiscation, rescue, rehabilitation and transport (by land and air) of these two ♀ Antillean manatees were carried out satisfactorily.