North Coast January 8, 2020 | 9:38 am

Drones track manatees in Samaná peninsula

Samaná, Dominican Republic.- Since April 29, 2017, a population of manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) was documented using commercial drones, in El Portillo on the north shore of Samaná peninsula.

What began as a sighting during a recreational flight resulted in the first census of this marine mammal using drones, by the National Maritime Affairs Authority (ANAMAR) titled “Ecotourism potential of the observation of Manatee in the North coast of Samaná Peninsula.”

ANAMAR highlights among the most recent works those of CIBIMA-UASD (Domínguez Tejo 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016; Domínguez Tejo y Rivas, 2011), TNC (Domínguez et al., 2008; Domínguez 2011), CEBSE (Betancourt, 2010), MARENA (Reynoso et al., 2011), FUNDEMAR, the National Aquarium and CERREA, which address different issues on the manatee, such as the status and historical and current distribution, habitat use, mortality, stranding and rescue, and the analysis of information gaps.

According to the ANAMAR study quoted by Diario Libre the north coast of Samaná Peninsula is characterized by numerous reef patches that create shallow lagoons that protect manatees from waves. Additionally, reef patches make navigation near the coast difficult, and therefore limit boat traffic and its associated noise, which favors the presence of manatees.