Guadalajara, Mexico, Aug 26 (EFE).- A pair of manatees arrived on Thursday at their new home in a zoo in the city of Guadalajara, capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco, as part of a captive conservation program for this threatened species.
Claudia and Lorenzo, a six-year-old female and a seven-year-old male, were brought from the Quintana Roo state in southeastern Mexico to an area of the zoo’s aquarium that was adapted to the characteristics of their habitat to ensure their survival.
“They are animals that are used to the presence of people because they have been in contact with them since they were born, and they have adapted here at an impressive speed. They are shy animals with slow metabolism, requiring high temperatures, because they live in warm climates,” Roberto Sánchez, a manatee veterinarian, told EFE.
Manatees are herbivorous mammals that live in estuaries and lagoons, and are adapted to living in both freshwater and saltwater. They are known for their gray color and large size. They typically reproduce once every two years and females give birth to only one calf.
Since they are threatened by human predation, they need to be bred under human care in order to conserve the species and, above all, so that people get to know them to help in their conservation, according to Sánchez.
Although Claudia and Lorenzo are both adolescents, the idea is that they will reproduce in a few years under the supervision of specialists at Guadalajara Zoo.
This will be the first time in Mexico that manatees are bred in captivity since in other conservation centers in the south of the country they are in their natural environment, Guadalajara Zoo director Luis Soto told EFE.
To bring them to Guadalajara, the zoo made an agreement with the Dolphin Discovery company that has a reproduction program in Quintana Roo and that took charge of their transfer, which was originally scheduled for 2020 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Claudia and Lorenzo were flown from the port of Cancun to Acapulco and then to Guadalajara under the supervision of their caregivers and some 40 specialists.
Upon their arrival at the zoo, the two animals were welcomed with a large freshwater pond and a heating system to conserve moisture. Visitors can observe them from a large glass window installed near the bottom of the pool. EFE