Local hunting of African manatees for their palatable meat and their skin, bones and oil has been significant, causing population declines in certain areas (1) (2). Although illegal, hunting is still a common practice all over West Africa (4), but its impact on the species is hard to determine as hunting is carried out secretively by people in fear of prosecution (2). A further threat to the African manatee is entanglement in fishing nets. In Guinea-Bissau, this is the most immediate threat to the manatee population. Sometimes, the accidentally caught animals are butchered, and even if the manatee escapes from the net alive, injuries from the entanglement may result in death later on (4). Not only are the African manatees threatened by entanglement, but the damage done to the nets in such situations has, in some areas (such as Sierra Leone), instigated people to hunt manatees, reducing their numbers in an attempt to lessen the chance of costly damage being done again (6). Similarly, conflict arises between manatees and humans when, during the rainy season, manatees roam into rice fields, destroying precious crops (4) (6).
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