- Project name: Efforts to Safeguard the Antillean Manatees of Belize
- Project site: Belize city, Belize
- EDGE species: West Indian manatee Trichechus manatus
- Active: 2018 - ongoing
Jamal has been passionate about manatee conservation since he was 11 years old, and later jumped at the opportunity to join manatee scientists at Sea to Shore Alliance to assist with manatee captures and health assessments. In his time at S2S he has risen in the ranks from Field Assistant to eventually become Program Coordinator for the Belize Manatee Conservation Program.
Jamal sees the EDGE Fellowship as an opportunity for him to take greater steps to protect manatees and their manatee habitats in Belize. He hopes to learn more about project planning and management in order to implement effective conservation strategies and save the Antillean manatee from extinction. Through the Fellowship he also intends to become a better-rounded conservationist and grow as a conservation scientist. Jamal will be one of EDGE’s first Nat Geo Photo Ark EDGE Fellows.
Jamal’s project aims to strengthen manatee conservation in Belize through research, education, conservation and awareness. His objectives are to:
- Carry out drone surveys over the Belize River to monitor and record animal behaviour and boating activity and to count manatee sightings.
- Satellite tag and track wild manatees to identify behaviour, usage patterns and travel corridors in the Belize River.
- Use data to determine appropriate no wake zones, slow speed zones and manatee zones for boaters.
- Work with local authorities to implement speed zones, develop and distribute education materials to increase local awareness and conduct joint patrols to enforce compliance of regulations.