African manatee conservation program
Species name: AFRICAN MANATEE
Scientific name: Trichechus senegalensis
Project website: www.africanaquaticconservation.org
The African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) is still a barely known aquatic mammal from the manatee family. It lives both in the Atlantic Ocean and in the waters of West African rivers flowing into it. Despite the fact that it is a large animal weighing about 500 kg, it is very rarely noticed, because it mostly feeds in cloudy waters, rich in vegetation. Seagrass is his favourite food, but recently scientists discovered that African manatees also like clams and small fish.
Together with Wrocław Zoo, we support a research project in Senegal by the African Aquatic Conservation Fund. African manatees are an endangered species as they often fall prey to poachers. They are also threatened by climate change and the regulation of rivers along which they migrate. Wrocław Zoo and the Dodo Foundation are the founders of research and protection of manatees in the Casamance River region in southern Senegal. Until recently, this area was affected by an ethnic conflict. We want to help the indigenous people of this region protect the manatees and other animals inhabiting these lands. We want to help them understand that they can live better not from poaching, but tourism development. The project involves environmental education for children and adults, and the reconstruction of the tourism centre and the observation tower to attract tourists. From the tower, you will be able to admire not only manatees but also dolphins.