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Conservation spotlight is on Manatee man, Jamal Galves

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Posted: Friday, January 22, 2021. 10:06 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Every month, the United States Embassy in Belize highlights outstanding Belizeans for their work and commitment.

For January, the U.S. Embassy’s conservation spotlight is on Manatee man, Jamal Galves.

Jamal is a marine conservationist specializing in marine mammals and their ecosystems. He first became interested in marine life as a young boy when he would watch manatees swim through the lagoon as he stood on his grandparents’ lawn.

When Jamal was 11, he had the chance to shadow a field research team led by manatee conservationist Dr. James Powell and, since then, was very enthusiastic about helping and learning what he could. He is now the program coordinator and research biologist of the Belize Manatee Program for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, which he joined in 2003.

In his efforts to safeguard the endangered Antillean Manatees from extinction, Jamal focuses his energy on four different platforms including research, awareness, conservation action and inspiration.

Research is conducted to better understand the species needs and potential threats while the data collected is used to develop conservation actions such as manatee sanctuaries, boat speed zones ect. The inspiration platform focuses on inspiring the next generation to take part in conservation efforts.

Jamal was also selected to become a National Geographic Explorer which enabled their team to share more information concerning manatees to a wider audience.

This opportunity also provided him with more support and training to better equip him to withstand the challenges of saving a species from extinction.

Jamal hopes that in the future, he will become a Goodwill Ambassador to travel the world in order to meet and inspire others to participate in a global conservationist effort. He would also like remind everyone how individuals and groups of people can initiate change by making small efforts with big impact.

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