MEXICO CITY – After the recent death of eight manatees in the southern state of Tabasco, Mexico’s Profepa environmental protection agency announced on Thursday that it is taking action to strengthen conservation measures.
Profepa said in a statement that it had carried out “monitoring rounds, water-quality sampling, as well as sampling of food sources to discover the possible causes of death of the eight manatees.”
Tissue samples to determine the presence of toxic elements and the cause of death were only taken from one of the dead manatees, as the other seven carcasses were highly decomposed.
Recent water-quality sampling has shown that pollution in the lagoons where the manatees live is not above recommended levels for wildlife.
However, Mexico’s National Water Commission has taken new samples to determine if pesticides or oil has contaminated the water.
Besides the eight dead manatees, a live female manatee showing signs of severe malnutrition was also found.
To address this issue, Tabasco environmental authorities have set up manatee feeding stations on the lagoons’ shores.
Profepa warned that manatee populations in Mexico have drastically diminished in the last few years because of the destruction of their habitat, diseases, and poaching.
The largest population of manatees in Mexico live in Tabasco, where there are an estimated 1,000 specimens left.