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Manatee tour

The coast of Piauí is not only made up of beautiful and paradisiacal beaches. Sustainability and animal preservation are also present. This is the case of the Peixe-Boi Marinho Project, in Cajueiro da Praia, comprising one of the largest manatee shelters in Brazil.

To see the Cajueiro marine manatees, you need to hire a fishing boat on your own. Many are available within the city. As a tip from Get to Know Piauí, you can contact the Babau Tur team, represented by Claudio Veras, by calling (86) 98116-6132.

There is also a platform within the project itself, which leads to the observatory from where you can observe the manatees. However, until the day we published this article, the platform was under renovation and therefore could not yet be used..

The municipality of Cajueiro da Praia has a reasonable number of manatees in its oceanic waters. With this in mind and with a view to preservation, a space dedicated to the care and research of these animals was created in the 90s. Thus, the Federal Government created the National Center for Research, Conservation and Management of Aquatic Mammals. This center is managed through joint work between IBAMA and the NGO Fundação Mamífero Aquático, which raises funds for investment in the project. This is also officially sponsored by Petrobrás.

The project headquarters has a simple, rustic, sustainable structure with a rich collection and involvement of the entire community. The installation follows a regional architecture and you will find a small museum, with guides who lead the way, reporting information and experiences. The center also consists of an observation tower located on the waters of the Timonha River, between Piauí and Ceará. It is in this tower that researchers monitor manatees and collect information related to research, studies and preservation of these animals. This tower is also accessible to tourists. It is about 1,500 meters from the sea, giving you a clear view of the manatees. To get there, you have to go by sailing canoe, as motorbikes disturb the animals, and at visiting times they depend on the tide. This tour is carried out by IBAMA together with guides from the Praia de Itam Group Drivers Association.

Cajueiro manatees
The manatees in Cajueiro are of the Sirenia species, measuring around 4 meters and weighing up to 800 kilos. In the municipality, they are quite worshiped by the population. From fishermen to children, the local community lives harmoniously with these animals, as well as participating in activities to preserve them. The manatee was even adopted as a symbol of Cajueiro da Praia, even forming the municipality’s flag. Furthermore, the animal was adopted as a Praia Cajueiro Natural Heritage Site. And for those who don't know, the manatee is the only herbivorous aquatic mammal and has been around for about 50 years. They stay in the water, but, like whales, they surface at intervals to breathe, and drink fresh water.

It is inspiring and exciting to get to know this conservation center and the manatees of Cajueiro da Praia up close. Furthermore, see lessons on citizenship and respect for the environment and animals up close.




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