Manatees, those gentle giants with flat, paddle-shaped tails, have inspired the legends of mermaids.
We are fortunate that our very own island of Trinidad is the home of these amazing animals also known as sea cows.
For years biannual counts of these aquatic mammals have been carried out locally.
Today however, we are fortunate to have a population survey based on collecting manatee DNA from faecal samples, currently being carried out jointly by the Manatee Conservation Trust, the US Geological Survey and the Forestry Division.
This research would assess the status of our manatees and would provide us with information on the health of the population.
This year marks 27 years since the protection of our local manatees began as a project of the Rotary Club of San Juan - of which I am proud to be a member - under the “Protect Planet Earth” programme of 1990/1991 launched by Rotary International.
This programme led to the formation of the Manatee Conservation Trust itself. Six years after the project commenced, the trust purchased a 500-acre estate in the Nariva area, with the aim of protecting the manatees.