A pair of manatees arrived on Thursday at their new home at the Guadalajara Zoo as part of a captive conservation program for the endangered species.
Claudia and Lorenzo, a six-year-old female and a seven-year-old male, were brought from the state of Quintana Roo to stay in an area of the zoo’s aquarium that was adapted to the characteristics of their habitat so that they can survive.
“They are animals that are used to the presence of people because since they were born they have been in contact with them, and they have adapted here at an impressive speed. They are shy animals with a slow metabolism that require high temperatures because they live in hot climates,” Roberto Sánchez, manatee veterinarian.
The manatees are herbivorous mammals that live in estuaries, lagoons and adapt to both fresh water and salt. Its gray color and its large size are two of its attractions. They reproduce every two years and have only one young.
Being threatened by human predation, they require reproduction under human care to conserve the species and, above all, that people know them to help in their conservation, explained Sánchez.
Although now they are both adolescents, the idea is that Claudia and Lorenzo can reproduce in a few more years under the supervision of specialists from the Guadalajara zoo.
“They are adolescents and at some point, they will reach sexual maturity and idea that they can reproduce here would not be difficult at all, we would have to plan it very well and know what the final destination is, we are talking about an endangered species and many instances are involved,” said the specialist .
This is the first time in Mexico that manatee specimens are bred in captivity, since in other conservation centers in the south of the country they remain in their natural environment, the director of the Guadalajara zoo, Luis Soto, told Efe.
He said that to bring them to Guadalajara, the zoo made an agreement with the Dolphin Discovery company that has a breeding program in Quintana Roo and that was in charge of their transfer, which was originally scheduled for 2020, but was delayed due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Claudia and Lorenzo traveled in a plane destined only for them that flew from the port of Cancun to Acapulco and then to Guadalajara, always under the supervision of their caretakers and 40 specialists.
Upon arriving at the zoo, the two specimens were greeted by a large freshwater pond and a heating system to conserve moisture. Visitors to the zoo can watch their movements from a large glass window placed at the bottom of the pond.
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