Wildlife Species of the Week

The African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis)

This is the African manatee, it can be found across the West African regions from brackish waters to freshwater: in oceans, rivers, lakes, coastal estuaries, reservoirs, lagoons, and bays on the coast.

Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows.  

Manatees are herbivores; however, they also eat clams, mollusks, and fish found in nets. The percentage of the diet that is composed of non-plant material varies based on location, with manatees living off the coast having a lifetime average of 50% non-plant material. The African manatee is nocturnal. They tend to travel silently, eat, and be active towards the end of the day and during the nighttime. 

According to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the African manatee is endangered. The African manatee is a vulnerable species because of its meat, oil, bones, and skin, which can bring great wealth to poachers. Specifically they are used to make walking sticks and toy spinning tops. In some countries, such as Nigeria and Cameroon, African manatees are sold to zoos, aquariums, online as pets, and they are sometimes shipped internationally.

SOURCES

“Manatee”. Sea World 

“West African Manatee”. Animal info 

“West African Manatee”. Paradise Earth 

African Manatee- Animal facts and information