The African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) is a species of manatee and is the least studied of the four species of Sirenians. Photos of African manatees are very rare; although very little is known about this species, scientists think they are similar to the West Indian manatees. They are found in coastal marine and estuarine habitats and in fresh water river systems along the west coast of Africa from the Senegal River south to the Kwanza River in Angola, including areas in Gambia, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although crocodiles and sharks occasionally kill manatees in Africa, their only significant threats are from humankind, such as poaching, habitat loss, and other environmental impacts.
They live as far upstream the Niger River as S gou, Mali. Although rare, they occasionally get stranded as the river dries up at the end of rainy season and are cooked for a meal. The name in Songhai, the local language, is "ayyu". A landlocked colony of manatees also lives in Lake Lere in southwestern Chad near the Cameroonian border something of an anomaly given that the lake is hundreds of miles inland and not connected to the sea in any way.
Manatees roam the Urasi River in the Okija-Ihiala-Oguta area between Anambra and Imo States of Nigeria. These animals are normally in the area between July through November when the Urazi River is heavily flooded. It is believed that they roam from the Oguta Lake in Oguta, Imo State downstream to the River Niger in Onitsha, Anambra State upstream. Sometimes, they run aground and are killed for meat by local people. They are also hunted for the meat, although the Nigerian Government is believed to have outlawed killing the animals. Locally, in Okija, manatees are called "Emei.'