Sea to Shore Alliance: Manatee Monitoring in Cuba
While manatee presence has been reported, no prior research or conservation efforts have occurred within Cuba‘s Alejandro de Humboldt National Park (AHNP), a UNESCO World Heritage site and globally significant MPA. Located within Cuba‘s Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa mountain range, the AHNP contains key terrestrial, freshwater and marine sections, which provide shelter to a wide array of endemic and endangered flora and fauna. While protected as one of Cuba‘s 14 approved national parks for decades, the region was elevated to a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001 due to its astounding level of biodiversity.
Sea to Shore (S2S) will conduct the first-ever manatee study in AHNP’s Bahia de Taco Bay for the collection of preliminary data via boat surveys and interviews, and the identification and training of local personnel for long-term AHNP monitoring efforts. Increasing scientific capacity in eastern Cuba will ultimately impact manatee conservation efforts nationally and throughout the Caribbean, due to the country’s close proximity to other Antillean islands.
The team will encourage park officials to join the National Manatee Sighting and Stranding Network and commence a long-term monitoring program for the region. S2S will transport all survey equipment from the U.S. for permanent use in AHNP and provide guidance in identifying project leaders and developing a local management plan.