Surprise! Manatee in Havana’s Almendares River in danger of being killed and eaten

“Picadillo”, the Almendares manatee

From our Bureau of Socialist Sources of Protein with some assistance from our Bureau of Socialist Environmentalism and our Bureau of Socialist Poaching and our Bureau of Socialist Manatee Picadillo Recipes

This is such a complex story that it has taken four of our bureaus to handle it.

A lone manatee has suddenly shown up in Havana’s severely polluted Almendares River and some locals fear that poachers might kill the creature because of Cuba’s ongoing food shortages.

As a kid, I spent a lot of time in El Bosque de la Habana, a sliver of lush tropical forest on the banks of the Almendares River that remained untouched by development. The river always stank, even back in the 1950’s. My father said the smell came from raw sewage. I can’t imagine that any improvements have taken place since Castro, Inc. seized power. It’s probably much worse now.

Anyway, the presence of a manatee in the Almendares River and El Bosque de la Habana has become a cause of concern to some environmentally-concerned Cubans. According to experts, Cuba is the best possible environment for manatees in the entire Caribbean. Conservation efforts have been launched (by foreigners, not Castro, Inc.), but the species is in danger of being wiped out. One expert has said: “Let me tell you, the main cause of death of manatees in Cuba is hunting. People kill them to eat,”

It seems that the current food crisis has increased the danger. Come to think of it, why haven’t any of Castro, Inc.’s military oligarchs suggested the manatee as the solution to Cuba’s food shortage? They’ve suggested ostriches, rodents, reptiles, and last week they suggested all Cubans should create fish ponds to feed themselves. Could it be that they are reserving the manatees for themselves, and most or all of the hunting is carried out by them? Highly likely . . .

Poor Almendares manatee. I’m naming him “Picadillo.” If some oligarchs hungry Cubans don’t kill Picadillo, the pollution might do it. And regardless of how he loses his life, he’ll be eaten, for sure.

Abridged and loosely translated from Periodico Cubano

A group of Cubans have raised warning alarms by reacting to a post on social media where a manatee is seen swimming under the Almendares River bridge in Havana. The community fears that in the face of the food crisis, the animal, which can contain up to 500 kilograms of meat and fat, will be slaughtered to eat it.

According to Abelardo Betancourt Cobas’s Facebook post, the mammal can be seen swimming on the surface of the river with extremely cloudy and dirty water under the emblematic iron bridge located in the Vedado area.

Several Cubans have requested government action to act, protecting this element of marine fauna that is characteristic of the area. “Please, protect our marine fauna, don’t do nonsense” and “I hope they save it before they eat it or it becomes infested with that highly polluted water,” some said.

Historically, manatees have been relevant in various indigenous cultures and coastal communities. Some pre-Columbian cultures of America considered the manatee a sacred animal. With the arrival of European colonization in the Americas, manatees were hunted for meat, skin, and other products, which led to a decline in their populations and their conservation status. Overhunting and habitat loss have pushed many manatee species to the brink of extinction today.

The weight of a manatee can vary depending on the species and its age. In general, manatees can weigh between 400 and 590 kilograms (880 to 1,300 pounds), although some larger individuals have been known to exceed 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds).

Whole story HERE in Spanish