Once known to occur in large herds and have healthy populations (2), the Amazonian manatee has suffered from extensive hunting by subsistence and commercial hunters. It has been sought for meat, oil and fat, and at one time for its hide, which was in demand for use as water hoses and machine belts (7). Threats now include hunting and accidental drowning in commercial fishing nets. The deforestation of large areas of the forests surrounding this manatee's river habitats has also caused soil erosion, degradation of food supplies and the reduction of vegetation in the waterways (7).
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