Eco-briefs BRAZIL: Studying Manatee Reproduction Through Feces
RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr 16 (Tierramérica).- The analysis of feces could be the key to better understanding the reproductive cycle of the Amazonian manatee in its natural habitat, according to the Conservation of Amazonian Aquatic Vertebrates Project at the Mamirauá Institute in Brazil.
A team of scientists is exploring rivers in protected areas of the Amazon rainforest in search of feces from this particular species of manatee (Trichechus inunguis).
More than 300 samples have been gathered, some almost two decades ago, in order to test them for the presence of sex hormones. The objective is to understand the influence of factors such as the water level in high- and low-water periods and the availability of food during the reproductive cycle.
“There are very few scientific accounts of the reproduction of this mammal in the wild. The existing data is almost all drawn from animals in captivity,” veterinarian Carolina Oliveira, one of the researchers, told Tierramérica.
“Data on hormonal levels will make it possible to estimate the period in which Amazonian manatees mate and the females give birth,” she added.
*Source: Inter Press Service.
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