Daniel was found in Laguna Guerrero as a pup with one lung full of water. Now he's a beautiful 7 year old 220kg bull, and much loved by everyone. He is free to swim about the lagoons which connect to the sea, but he never leaves his Laguna Guerrero.
I was taken to Laguna Guerrero by a friendly family from Calderitas, they wanted me to film Daniel the Manatee for the 'Enchanting Mexico' documentary series. The daughter of the the family feed baby Daniel by bottle when he was a pup, I could see she got misty eyed just talking about it.
We got to the reserva in Laguna Guerrero and was met by the man who looked after Daniel, he was getting Daniel's food ready, beetroots, lettuce, cucumber, he was a bubbly happy man who you could see, loved his job. We all walked down the peer, there was netting all around the area, but you could see manatee sized holes in a few places.
As we got closer I got my first good look at a Manatee. Daniel looked like a gray blob with tiny eyes, a long barrel body, and flat rounded tail fin, his two front fins had little round nails on tips. Quite unlike any thing I had ever seen before. He looked up as us and seemed to look at each of us in turn, gentle and noble, and I fell in love there and then.
As Daniel got fed his salad by Jair Hussein De Jesus Torres Mendiburu, Secretaría de Ecología y Medio Ambiente, told us all about Daniel and how he had been found by local kids as a pup with one lung full of water. The locals had adopted Daniel and healed him, now he's a 220kg bull. Jair had been looking after Daniel for 4 years, and they think Manatees live to about 60 or more years. Manatees don't have predators, well, that is the Mayan used to eat them and use their hide and bones for decoration, but not anymore of course. The closest relative to the Manatee is the elephant. Manatees eat 20% of their body weight a day, they eat the algae which grows in the area, well the other manatee do, Daniel eats salads.
There were some steps lead down into the water and I have a Gopro hero 3 cam which films beautifully underwater as well as in HD quality. I sat down on the steps and waited for Daniel to swim past with my cam in the water. Daniel swam right up to me and up the last two steps! I was face to face with the sweetest wrinkly faced aquatic mammal, and he unplugged his nose and breathed right into my face, and made me giggle. I'm getting teary eyed as I write this
I spent about an hour tickling him and even kissed his nose
An amazing experience. One I will never forget.
You can can see the latest episode of 'Enchanting Mexico' here:
Welcome to episode 3 for season 2 of Enchanting Mexico. This episode is fully translated into English and Spanish. In this episode Rose works with 'Son Barrio Abajo' a group of children musicians taught by Jose Fidencio Aguirre Fierro (col8) in Talcotalpan. The children make a painted animation to the song 'Toro Zacamandu' that Rose records them performing. Rose also takes you throughTlacotalpan's festival of bread and candy where you see the traditional dance of the Jarochos.
From Tlacotalpan to Toro Prieto - Rose rides her bike around the reserva biosfera of the Volcano St. Martin. and comes across the small town of Toro Prieto where she is shown the sites by a local family, and gives art workshops in the schools. Toro Prieto is the closest village to the amazing rock formations of Roca Partida.