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A river fishing brigade saved a 600 pound manatee from drowning caught up in a net in  Tesoro Lake, in Cuba’s western Matanzas province.

The rescue gains even more significance if compared to the indiscriminate hunting of these endangered animals in the northern coasts of Villa Clara, a province in central Cuba.

At Tesoro Lake, the fishermen contacted expert Andres Hurtado and veterinarian Suleiky Alvarez at the Zapata Swamp National Park Hydro-biological Station, and they organized a rescue team.

It was impossible to untangle the fishing net from the boat and they had to jump into the water, risking a blow from the scared animal.

“Finally managing to set the manatee free was very rewarding,” said Hurtado, “We can save the manatees, but we have to work together. There are many people in Cuba and the world trying to rescue this species from extinction. The Zapata Swamp is part of a national network for the preservation of manatees.”

“Here at the Zapata Swamp, for instance, manatees are sometimes victims of illegal hunters, or die accidentally caught up in nets or hit by boats,” he added.

Cuban manatees belong to the species Trichechus manatus manatus. They live in shallow water springs and estuaries in different parts of the country.
In the Zapata Swamp area, they are chiefly found in Broa Cove, Hatiguanico River, to the southwestern part of the swamp, in the Bay of Pigs and to a less extent in Tesoro Lake.

Source: JR

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