by Luke, in Peru
31st October, 2009

Daryl Richardson is the founder of the Dallas World Aquarium and whilst working with some pink river dolphins a few years ago, was asked to help rescue some orphaned manatees.
It was a challenge as much as a worthy cause – manatees are CITES 1 critically endangered species and there was no proper rescue or rehabilitation facility in the country. Darryl’s motivation was simply to help these amazing animals, and the aquarium doesn’t have any Peruvian Manatees in Dallas – he did totally to help save the animals and conserve the species. A rare example of a commercial business that makes its money from exhibiting exotic species doing something incredibly altruistic.
It was a great visit and a privilege to learn about the manatees, handle them, feed them and appreciate why it is so important to protect them. They are a vital part of many of the tributaries of the Amazon, a key component to the delicate ecosystem. Hunted for blubber and food, these gentle giants only have one offspring at a time and with a gestation of 13months and a nursing period of up to two years, their reproductive rate is slow to say the least. They are now protected under Peruvian and International Law, but thanks to Darryl and his very competent team, they might just stand a chance and his far reaching education programmes seem to be really making an impact. As the locals learn that the creatures are so important to the fish in the river and they don’t eat them, they in turn will start to become their guardians.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment


You must be logged in to post a comment.