Surviving manatee doing well in the Caribbean: River Safari

Kai the manatee getting a piece of carrot in his new home at the National Park of Guadeloupe on Aug 30, 2016.
Kai the manatee getting a piece of carrot in his new home at the National Park of Guadeloupe on Aug 30, 2016.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE -  Kai, one of two Singapore-born manatees, is doing well despite the death of  Junior, the other manatee, in Guadeloupe on Sunday (Oct 2).

The manatee Kai, seven, remains under the close supervision of the local veterinarians and keepers at the National Park of Guadeloupe, the River Safari told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Oct 4).

Junior and Kai were sent to Guadeloupe, a French territory in the Caribbean, in August to take part in the world's first manatee repopulation programme. The male manatees will be joined by 10 females from other zoos. Any offspring from the group will be released into the wild.

But on Oct 2, Junior, the younger of the two at six years old, died. A blood analysis taken during a routine health check on Sept 30 had showed indications of renal failure.

 
 

"River Safari is saddened by the passing of Junior the West Indian manatee... Ahead of the manatees' move, vets and aquarists of the two parks carefully planned logistics to ensure a smooth journey, and also spent considerable time preparing and conditioning the animals. Junior and Kai had been settling in well at their new home," said a River Safari spokesman in a statement.

Guadeloupe National Park director Maurice Anselme has said that tissue samples would be analysed to determine the cause of death.

Known locally as "maman d'lo" or mother of the sea, the West Indian manatee was an important part of the French Caribbean island's ecology before being hunted to extinction in the early 1900s.