The Mermaids of Itamaraca

Written and Directed by Vincent GRÉMILLON 

Edited by Françoise BERGER GARNAULT

Produced by Manuel CATTEAU / ZED

Original music by Pierre ESTEVE

Directed by : Vincent GREMILLON – Brazil

In northeastern Brazil, on the island of Itamaraca, a center has been created for the preservation and study of the manatee, a sea mammal, seriously threatened with extinction. There are only 2,500 in the world, 500 in Brazil. The species has been protected by international conventions since 1967. 

The center’s program began 20 years ago. Young manatees are taken in after having run aground on the beaches, due to the silting up of the marine manatee’s reproduction zones. Females therefore, have to give birth at sea and often lose their young because of the waves and violent currents. Without human intervention, these yougsters are certain to die.

At the center, Daniel, a 30 year old Brazilian looks after the babies. He bottle feeds them until they reach maturity. After four years at the center, learning how to readapt to living in the wild, the manatee is released into its natural environment, with a tracer collar around its neck.