Pepe the Manatee dies in La Romana after injuries caused by a boat
Pepe, the manatee, was discovered lifeless on Friday morning in the vicinity of the Captain Kidd restaurant, located in the La Romana province. His lifeless body was found submerged in a shallow section of the sea. Experts from the Department of Environment and the Dominican Foundation for Marine Studies (Fundemar) are currently on-site to recover Pepe’s remains.
Pepe had previously been injured by a boat’s propeller, possibly during Storm Franklin. Concerned community members near the Cumayasa River in La Romana reported the injuries by sending a video of Pepe with visible wounds on his back and other parts of his body on August 31. Unfortunately, despite efforts, the injuries were too severe.
Pepe’s presence in the area raised awareness about the importance of reducing boat speeds in sensitive areas where wild manatees can be found. Despite some efforts to mark low-speed areas with beacons or buoys, conflicts with tour operators have persisted.
Pepe was released into his natural habitat in 2020 along with two other manatees, Juanita and Lupita, after spending eight years in captivity at the National Aquarium. Juanita sadly passed away in 2022.