Reports from the Field

Wonderful Manatee World


My first report tanked because I lost it TWICE thanks to the  quality of internet in Belize. I was even at an internet café, which is mostly the  only place to get wifi, so we only get to go into town a few times a week, after work, so that around 7pm, so then you only have a few hours to eat dinner and the internet is so slow it takes about an hour to post one facebook post.

You take the good with the bad here and make the most of it. We sing and make up a lot of silly songs to carry us through. It is rewarding and challenging. But I would come back.

We work 12+ hours a day and 7 days a week. I am in the water for about 7 hours.You get 4 days off a month, but not for the first 14 days. I worked over 80 hours a week. Honestly, its brutal conditions, the mosquitoes are swarming  most all the time and you can not wear bug spray because of the manatees, also no deodorant, lotion, oil, sunscreen or any products because it can float on the surface of the water and get into the baby manatees eyes and sting them. Because of the solar power, we run out of water a few days a week, and then we use the saltwater from the lagoon to wash dishes, and take a bucket bath.  My ideas what is clean and dirty have changed. If it is dry and doesn’t smell like poop or mildew, its clean! But most all of my clothes do smell like that, even after I “wash” them, cause nothing dry here, unless in direct sunlight.

Callie is a 6 month old baby that arrived 2 weeks before I did. She has made great strides in a short amount of time. She was caught In a fishing net for a few days a least, because the mom always hangs around for a few days before giving up. She was covered in algae, which makes her pretty cute. She started off having to be nose tube fed, de wormed and then she moved to being hand tube feed and now, as of 4 days ago she is finally taking the bottle!! She is about to be moved from the intensive care pool to a recovery pool.

The other 5 manatees are older and have been here for over a year. I am lagoona mom to Mitch and Lucky,  who are about to go on soft release with a tracker out to be free manatees! I feed them 3 bottles a day and give them seagrass frames and mangroves, sometimes banana leaves 4 times a day.

Two older girls, Twiggy and Khalessi, are already on soft release, but still come back for a morning and evening bottle most of the time.

Until next time! Rae

Manatee Rehabilitation Internship in Belize

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Rae Stegall