The East African manatee according to MammalMAP
Meet the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). A cousin of the dugong, manatees are found along the West African coastline between Angola and Senegal, inhabiting coastal waters and rivers. They are comfortable in both salt and fresh water, but seem to prefer shallow estuaries and swamps. These mega-herbivores feed on huge quantities of aquatic plants – up to 8000 kg/year – so much so that some have proposed that this exceptional feeding ability makes them perfect for the job of Specialised Aquatic Weed Eaters! As with many African mammals, humans are their worst enemy and greatest threat. Illegal hunting of manatees for their palatable meat, and for their skin, bones and oil has led to significant declines in numbers in some areas. Manatees sometimes also become accidentally entangled in fishing nets, which compromises their survival, even if they escape. Perhaps worse still is that – because fishing nets may get damaged when manatees are accidentally entrapped – fisherman in some areas conduct manatee hunts to prevent net damage. Manatees also clash with people when, during the rainy season, they roam on land and destroy crops. For all of these reasons, manatees are now listed as Vulnerable on CITES, and their populations need to be carefully monitored, managed and protected. For more information go to the MammalMAP virtual museum or blog.
No one has provided updates yet.