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Arnhem, 30th December 2021 – A West Indian manatee was born at Royal Burgers' Zoo on Thursday, December 30th at 09:18am. Father, mother and calf live in the Mangrove at the Arnhem zoo. There are only nine European zoos with manatees, housing a total of 39 animals—24 bulls, 14 cows, and Arnhem's new addition. 

Calves are more than welcome

As there are only 39 of these extraordinary mammals in Europe, calves are more than welcome as part of the European West Indian manatee population management program. Bulls are clearly in the majority, so it would be excellent news if the calf turned out to be a female. With the calf's birth, there are now three manatees living at Burgers' Zoo. 

Expensive boarders

Manatees are very demanding in terms of their environment and are expensive boarders. Together, the two adult manatees eat around 60–70 kg of food per day. Endive is their main food source—the large mammals eat around 18–22 kg of endive per adult per day. They also eat bok choi, celery, Chinese cabbage and alfalfa every day, along with a varied supply of spinach, broccoli, chicory, lettuce, Swiss chard and kale. The calf’s father was born at ZooParc de Beauval in France and is almost 20 years old, while the mother was born at Odense Zoo in Denmark and is almost 8.5 years old.

Deadly boat propellers and fishing nets

West Indian manatees are mammals, so they regularly need to surface to breathe. Manatees in the wild are often fatally injured by motorboat propellers when they lift their heads above the water to breathe. When a manatee gets stuck in a fishing net, it will die from suffocation. Fortunately, countries around the world are increasingly listing manatees as a protected species. The IUCN Red List classifies the animals as 'vulnerable'.