A expedition that has been studying the situation of the Amazon manatee (Expedição Peixe-Boi Amazônico) for five years, began the final phase of its work on August 16 when it left Santarém, in the northern Brazilian state of Pará.
The group will arrive in Manaus today, concluding the study. The Amazon manatee (Trichechus inungis) known as peixe-boi (ox fish) in Brazil is the world’s only river species of that fish.
The expedition has gathered data on its habitat and habits, and worked with riverside inhabitants on the importance of preserving the species. The Amazon manatee has been hunted ever since colonial times and is threatened with extinction.
The expedition, sponsored by the Aquatic Mammals Center at the Environmental Protection Institute (Ibama), distributed gifts and gave talks and classes to local inhabitants. During the lifetime of the expedition, some 600 riverside communities were visited and around 18,000 people interviewed.
The Santarém-Manaus stretch is the fifth phase of the expedition, which started in 2000 and has already travelled on the Solimões, Negro, Purus and Madeira (Amazon state), Tapajós, Arapiuns and Amazon rivers (Pará state), as well as lake and igarapés (natural river channels) of these rivers.