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Manatee Re-Introduction

Long Term Adaptation Project

in the

Turks and Caicos Islands

A Proprietary Document and an
Initial Proposal Outline

A Request for Letters of Endorsement

Project Proposal and Copyright:

Dean Bernal
and the
Marine Wildlife Foundation

PO Box 153
Turks and Caicos Islands, BWI
E mail- jojo1@tciway.tc

Species: Trichechus Manatus

Mermaids of the Sea
Caribbean Manatee
Sea Cow

Last documented sighting: Autumn 1994, Grand Turk Island.

INTRODUCTION: The Marine Wildlife Foundation Manatee Reintroduction Project is seeking to develop a network of specialists and advisors in order to create a proposal to reintroduce and establish a population of Manatees in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

HISTORY: Manatees are now extinct in the region where they were once abundant in the mangroves surrounding the islands. Bernie Saddler notes in his historical research that Manatees were killed by Lucayans using javelins and then eaten. ˝Their meat is considered highly edible, the color of beef, but tasting more like pork.  The bodies are high in fat, which the pirates used to melt and keep in earthen pots as a cooking oil. The early Virginia colonist all stopped in the Turk Islands where they frequently captured Manateesţ (pg. 36, Turk Islands Landfall, H.E. Saddler, Autumn 1997)

TARGET LOCATION: The manatee reintroduction and habitat target is near the island of East Caicos. The target area is intended to utilize both the unprotected wetlands and protected RAMSAR wetland sites of Middle, East and North Caicos. East Caicos is an uninhabited island with a healthy mangrove expanse. Both adjacent islands are designated as RAMSAR world heritage sites that provide protection to the wetlands from encroachment or development.

RAMSAR SITE: The Manatee Reintroduction Proposal will refer to a key document (intended as a working document) which is a Darwin Project publication, ˝the plan for Bio Diversity Management and Sustainable Development Around the Turks and Caicos RAMSAR Site.ţ  This document is 250 pages and includes maps and diagrams of the wetlands, along with proposals for future work and guidelines for responsibilities concerning eco tourism parameters.  The document is available at www. jojodolphin.org on our manatee section links or at www. ukotcf.org links under publications.




Dean Bernal and The Marine Wildlife Foundation are developing the project proposal and project initiative directions consisting of local government contacts, USA correspondence, advisory contacts and consultant research. He works with all entities, local and international, and includes all government, private and public programs and affiliations, and PR and Marketing. Executive Director and Proposal Originator.

Advisors, Specialist, Consultants, and student researchers, are requested to participate in the de3velopment of the Manatee Proposal and participate in the actual project. Please contact us at our www. jojodolphin.org web site e mail address if you are interested. Your e mail and name will be shared with the core group developing this project.

Ministry of Natural Resources and the PAD office (Protected Areas Development) is requested to help with site selection and protected areas criteria, and also support the Marine Mammal Wardenship.

The National Museum of the Turks and Caicos Islands is requested to provide evidence of the history of the Turks and Caicos Manatees and also archive the reintroduction of the species for the Museum archives. I am providing the attached historical leads in this direction. (See attached)

The National Trust of the Turks and Caicos Islands is requested to provide support in many directions, but initially, in the direction of species identification of the Turks and Caicos Manatee and provide correspondence for the Darwin Project. The Trust is also requested to provide international affiliations with other habitat protection initiatives, affiliated groups and institutions, joint education and awareness programs, PR, fundraising programs, and research initiatives.

Turks and Caicos Ministry of Tourism and the Dept. of Tourism are requested to assess and provide avenues of strong eco-tourism marketing and promotional programs, and refer affiliated PR sources. The Project potential has an emphasis as strong as the Turks and Caicos Whale Research Project and the JOJO Dolphin Project. (www. jojodolphin.org) which can parallel that of the Galapagos or Belize marketing.

Proposal Outline:

Phase 1: Initail Funding

Budget Proposal and Submission
International Support and Advisors Identified
Local Government Support Identified
Research and Development of Project Entities
Core Advisors and Consultants Identified
University Research Proposals and Involvement Requested

Phase 2 Budget Approval:
Proposal Completion
Project Plan Developed
Feasibility Study Started
Environmental Impact Assessment Started.

Phase 3: Budget Approval:
Feasibility Proposal Completed
Environmental Impact Completed
Project Plan Refinements and Recommendations Completed
Funding Sources Identified
USA and Foreign Entities Stake Holders Identified
Reintroduction Facility Location Identified
Manatee ˝Sourceţ Identified
Training of Key Staff in Manatee Husbandry and Emergency Treatment and Recovery

Phase 4 Budget Approval:
Materials and Facilities Development
Field Head Quarters and Release Facilities Built on Location.
Provo Office Facilities
Staff Hiring
PR Marketing Programs
Stranding and Recovery Program Plans
Transport Teams and Development

Phase 5 Budget Approval:
Manatee Reintroduction

Funding sources and programs
Marine Mammal Wildlife Foundation Manatee Program Introduced in TC
Reintroduction of Manatee
Research and Education Programs Extended

Funding Programs
Long term Research on Adaptation and Population Assessments
Stranding and Recovery Program
Long term Protection and Conservation of Species and Habitat
Wildlife Management Program
Wildlife Education Programs


Was the species ˝Trichechus Manatusţ actually endemic to the Turks and Caicos Islands? Or was the species a more refined species only endigenous to the Turks and Caicos Islands but now completely extinct. Reference to this question can be specific to land locked animals that are endemic only to the Turks and Caicos Islands such as the ˝chicken snakeţ (Tropidophis greenwayi), the smallest boa constrictor known to science, and the Big Eared Bat (Macrotus waterhouseii). This distinction as an indigenous species to the Turks and Caicos Islands may not include marine migratory species such as manatees and cetacean. However this is not conclusive due to the fact that a rare but now extinct monk seal was once an inhabitant of the Turks and Caicos. And is it possible the manatees were just here on an annual seasonal migration?

Postulating the remains of Lucayan food source remains a puzzle. Why are there no bones or elements of a manatee carcass? Were they only portioned for their meat due to their large size and the remains stayed in the waters of the mangroves forever buried, or have the bones decomposed?

Collection of manatee stories dependent on local island knowledge and/or stories from fishermen experiences and/or folklore inclusive of manatees.

Collection of studies concerning manatees in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands

Collaboration with Dean Bernal, the National Trust, local government entities, and international programs and affiliates that could be associated with this proposal for the purposes of funding, studies, and further collaboration.



Question: How and When did the species die out of the Turks and Caicos Islands?

-750- 1500 AD, Lucayan records, check for possible food sources. Middle Caicos and 1300═s Lucayan records Grand Turk. Check for possible food sources.

-1492, Columbus Landfall records. Check for existence of manatees.

-1512, Ponce de Leon records as an explorer. Check for existence of manatee populations.

-1563, John Hawkins. First English visitor to sailing form Hispaniola and arriving in Turks. ref  Slave Trade. The Solomon, vessel 120 tons. Check for manatee hunts on voyages.

-1584, Richard Hakluyt prepared Queens Book, March, Philip Armadas and Author Barlow were commissioned to go to America and pilot from Puerto Rico was Simon Fernando. June 1584 landed in Turks. Possible records and drawings of manatees.

-1585, Grenville═s Expedition: 5 ships of about 500 men organized by Sir Walter Raleigh to conduct the first colonization expedition.  Sailed from Plymouth on April 9th 1585. On June 7th they arrived Turk Islands where the Portuguese pilot Simon Fernando predicted they would be able to stock up on the meat of sea cows or manatees. Anchoring at Sand Cay, Grenville, and some sailors were almost drown while hunting manatees in a small skiff which capsized.

-1587, April, John White 3 ships 150 men, commissioned by Sir Walter Raleigh to paint truthfully the men fauna and flora of the New World. Sailed North of Hispainola documenting the islands. Check for any manatee records.

-1812, famine form war. Check for Manatees as possible food source during the crisis.

-1846- 1883, Whaling Company starts to harpoon whales in TCI. Any records of manatees?

-1866, The Great Hurricane devastated the TCI. Any manatee population effects before or after the Hurricane?

-1960, Hurricane Donna. Any effects on any existing manatee population?

-1994, Autumn, two Manatees in Grand Turk. Most likely they migrated from Hispainola. Migratory emphasis on a species presence of a migratory species of manatee present in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Also shows the possibility of diversification of a reintroduced population.

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