Lake Titicaca Seal

Myst ery Seal or Sirenian of Sout h America.

Physical description: Looks like a seal or manatee. Length, 12 feet.

Distribution: Lago Titicaca, especially around the Copacabana Peninsula and the Strait of Tiquina, Bolivia.

Present status: The only exclusively freshwater seals are the Baikal seal (Phoca sibirica), found in Lake Baikal, Buryat ia Republic, Siberia, and the Caspian seal (Phoca caspica) of t he Caspian Sea in West Asia. The Amazon manat ee (Trichechus in-unguis) of Brazil and Colombia is the only known sirenian completely confined to freshwater drainages, incl uding l akes, rivers, and fl oodpl ains.

Possible explanation: Unknown seal or sirenian, too poorly described for a diagnosis.

Source: Adolph F. Bandelier, The Islands of Titicaca and Koati (New York: Hispanic Society of America, 1910).

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