The gorgeous African Manatee lives exclusively along a particular portion of the coastline of western Africa. They are also found living around the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. Ideal African manatee habitat Unlike the dugongs, manatees do not strictly use marine habitats. Tidbits 3. The West Indian manatee is related to the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee, the dugong, and Steller’s sea cow, which was hunted to extinction in 1768. Subspecies There are no subspecies of the West African Manatee. It rests in shallow waters during the day. Conservation of the species is greatly hindered by the lack of basic knowledge about their distribution and habitat needs. [2] Although not a great deal is known about this species, it is hypothesized that the African manatee is very similar to the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). The African Manatee is mainly found around the Western part of Africa. There are three species of manatees: West Indian Manatees (Trichechus Manatus), West African Manatees (Trichechus Senegalensis), Amazonian or South American Manatees (Trichechus Inunguis). Habitat and Range. The African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis), also known as the West African manatee, is a species of manatee that is mostly herbivorous.African manatees inhabit much of the western region of Africa – from Senegal to Angola. Conservation Problems The West African manatee is the least studied large mammal in Africa and faces serious threats from hunting, dams, and other human impacts throughout its range. According to Dr. Mamaa Entsua-Mensah, who performs research for CSIR, when female African manatees surface for air, they resemble goddesses. Due to the way their bodies are designed, the manatee doesn’t do well in cold waters. A West Indian manatee, always curious, investigates a kayak … An African Manatee is dependent on hanging vegetation, as opposed to those submerged. Although African manatees live in both coastal areas and isolated inland areas, genetic evidence suggests no significant differences between the two populations. CITES states that trade in any species on the list, including the African manatee, is to be carefully monitored and terminated. Female African manatees give birth to one calf at a time after about a 13-month pregnancy. West African Manatees give birth to one calf in a shallow lagoon. Dams are a major cause of habitat degradation for Amazonian and African manatees, according to the IUCN, sometimes isolating populations in … [14], The African manatee is nocturnal. Many manatees migrate there during the rainy season. 1. [16], Many of the African manatees that venture up the Niger River starve to death. That range includes the coastlines of a total of 19 countries. Manatee Habitat and Distribution. Dots indicate study sites from where interview and sighting data were obtained. OceanCare supports conservation programmes for the West African Manatee and calls on the United Nations to act. The African manatee is highly elusive, lives in very remote locations and is subject to intense hunting pressure and habitat alteration throughout its range. [2][5][7] African manatees measure up to 4.5 m (15 ft) in length, and weigh about 360 kilograms (790 pounds). The manatee is gray in color with small, colorless hairs that cover its body. The African manatee is not restricted to a certain area, and does not have to rely heavily on only one ecosystem for support. This creates a deep bond between them. Although they tend to stay in freshwater, theory suggests that, through transoceanic currents, the species reached West Africa during the late Pliocene. African manatees can be found in much of the western region of Africa, from Senegal to Angola. The West Indian and West African manatees inhabit rivers, bays, canals, estuaries, and coastal areas rich in seagrass and other vegetation. However, algae and other tiny organisms often grow on an African manatee's body, so its body sometimes appears brown or greenish in color. [1] African manatees rarely inhabit waters with a temperature below 18°C (64°F). The main areas for them include Florida, Africa and the Amazon. West Indian and West African manatees are able to live in both sea water and fresh water. Conservation of the species is greatly hindered by the lack of basic knowledge about their distribution and habitat needs. African manatees that inhabit rivers mostly eat the overhanging plants growing on the river banks. In addition, African manatees can destroy rice crops by drifting into fields during the rainy season. The gorgeous African Manatee lives exclusively along a particular portion of the coastline of western Africa. Manatee Habitat. [1], Some behaviors of African manatees provoke humans to hunt them. Little else is known about reproduction in West African Manatees but it is assumed to be similar to that of the West Indian Manatee. Scientists from the Institute of Aquatic Biology of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Wildlife Department in Ghana have concluded that Maame Water is not a sea goddess, but actually the West African manatee. Fun Facts for Kids. They show a preference for mangrove habitats and calm water conditions, restricted to water that is 18°C and over. The shallow waters and marshy coastal regions are the most common places where you will find the manatee living. They are found in a range of coastal and estuarine habitats as well as in rivers and canals. The West African species is found in, you guessed it, western Africa! They have very few natural predators, two of which are sharks and crocodiles. The African manatee's large forelimbs, or flippers, are used to paddle and to bring food to its mouth. African Manatee Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology. References In fact, they won’t be able to survive if the waters are less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Although not a great deal is known about this species, it is hypothesized that the African manatee is very similar to the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs between 800 and 1,200 pounds. 588 589 590 Figure 1. A West Indian manatee, always curious, investigates a kayak in Florida. [5][8][9][10] From the exterior, the African manatee looks very similar to the American manatee; however, the African manatee is different from the Amazonian manatee, which has characteristic white markings on its abdomen. Calves are darker in color when they are very young. [5][15] They are also very social, spending a majority of their day bonding by touch, verbal communication, and smell. This evolution of the African manatee's diversity may be part of its key attribute to survival. They have been seen around the coast of Africa, Nigeria, and down to the Republic of Congo. During Phase II, the information collected in Phase I will be even more widely distributed around the areas in which the African manatee lives. Their diet consists mainly of aquatic vegetation from overhanging bank growth, mangroves or submerged aquatic plants. [12], According to people of western Africa, Maame Water (also spelled Mami Wata), a recurring character in many coastal legends, is a goddess of the sea and a symbol of wealth and beauty. This flooding can lower the availability of food for the manatees as well as lower the salinity of waterways. Where you will find them depends on the time of year, water temperature, and the specific species. During this phase, residents of six African countries (Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone) created a database of previously unknown information about the species (such as population, economic value, and habitat range) by conducting surveys in their countries. Manatees are typically found in shallow coastal areas and rivers where they feed on sea grass, mangrove leaves, and algae. The African manatee's ancestors passed down advantageous migration and food traits. They are known to live only in freshwater areas. A typical member of this breed is capable of journeying from … The shallow waters and marshy coastal regions are the most common places where you will find the manatee living. Entsua-Mensah explains that the female manatee's breasts create the illusion of a woman-fish. [1] The African manatee falls under the genus Trichechus with only two other species, the Amazonian manatee and the West Indian manatee, which are also sirenians. [9], The West African manatee is a descendant of trichechids found in coastal South America during the Pliocene Epoch. Manatees are herbivores. The West African manatee can be found in the coastal areas of West Africa. Although not a great deal is known about T. senegalensis, it is hypothesized that it is genetically related to the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). Manatees belong to the genus Trichechus, under the order Sirenia which is under the kingdom Animalia. Some female African manatees are sexually mature as young as 3 years of age, and they give birth every 3 to 5 years of their estimated 30-year lifespan. The African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis), also known as the West African manatee or seacow, is a species of manatee; it is mostly herbivorous (eats plants). 1. Specifically they are used to make walking sticks and toy spinning tops. Feeding and moving mostly during the night. Manatees are also known as sea cows. The West Indian manatee, which is found in the Western Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, was listed as Endangered in 1967 and has since been the subject of many conservation initiatives and legislation. Maame Water also flips over canoes and entices their occupants to visit her kingdom. The diet of African manatees living in estuaries consists solely of mangrove trees. [5], Manatees have been found as far as 75 kilometres (47 mi) offshore, where there are shallow coastal flats and calm mangrove creeks filled with seagrass. There are three different species of manatees: the Amazonian manatee, the African manatee, and the West Indian manatee. Manatee Habitat. In countries such as Sierra Leone, African manatees migrate upstream when flooding occurs in June and July. They are often referred to as the "forgotten" sirenian. [1] Thick congestion of boats in waterways may cause the manatees to have deadly run-ins with the vessels. In Senegal and Gabon, local and international scientists and conservationists are … Where you will find them depends on the time of year, water temperature, and the specific species. The West African manatee weighs up to 500 kg (1,100 lbs), and is 3-4 meters long (10-13 feet) when fully grown. Laws exist to protect the African manatee in every country in which it lives, but these laws are not well enforced. Due to the large-scale success of Phase I, a Phase II is to be enacted by Wetlands International. African manatees breed year-round. The West Indian and West African manatees inhabit rivers, bays, canals, estuaries, and coastal areas rich in seagrass and other vegetation. Data on Biology and Ecology (Sizeand Weight, Habitat, Birth Season, Birth Rate, Diet, Behavior, SocialOrganization) 5. Check out all these cool facts: Manatees live in shallow coastal waters and rivers, feeding on sea grass and algae. They are able to survive in salt water, rivers, wetlands, floodplains and lagoons. As part of a study completed in Côte d'Ivoire to assess where the majority of African manatees favor living, a sample of African manatees was radio-tagged and tracked. Manatees in Florida feed on more than 60 species of plants including turtle grass, manatee grass, shoal grass, mangrove leaves, various algae, water hyacinth, acorns, and hydrilla. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries WhereCurrently Found, Taxonomy, Population Estimates and Status, Distribution, Threats and Reasonsfor Decline) 4. They can be found in the southern United States, Central America, and northern South America. [3] African manatees live in groups of 1 to 6. Because of the work done during this phase, the general public, young children, and experienced scientists alike are receiving better information than ever before as to how to protect the African manatees. [1], The areas with the highest manatee populations are Guinea-Bissau, the lagoons of Côte d'Ivoire, the southern portions of the Niger River in Nigeria, the Sanaga River in Cameroon, the coastal lagoons in Gabon, and the lower parts of the Congo River. Phylogenetics And Feeding Ecology Of The African Manatee, Senghor, Léopold Sédar, "Chants d'ombre" [in] "Selected poems of LEOPOLD SEDAR SENGHOR", CUP Archive, pp. The most significant problems presently faced by Florida manatees is the loss of warm water habitat, and death and injury from boat strikes. We create and distribute educational materials in French and English, and we continually strive to find new and creative ways to educate people about the importance of conserving the African manatee and its habitat. Florida estuaries and freshwater lakes, springs and rivers provide extensive beds of seagrass and abundant freshwater aquatic vegetation that provide the manatee’s primary food sources. As herbivores, they can eat about ten percent of their body weight every day, and are chomping a good portion of the day. It is the only manatee that occurs exclusively in freshwater. Although an Amazonian manatee has very small eyes, surprisingly it can see very well, and it even has a membrane that it … Within this range, however, it appears to inhabit each region fairly equally. [3], The African manatee was officially declared a species under the Trichechus senegalensis taxon in 1795 by naturalist Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link. Keith Diagne, Lucy. Other articles where West African manatee is discussed: manatee: Evolution and paleontology: The West African manatee is also similar to the ancestral forms and may have dispersed from South America to Africa via transoceanic currents. Although the African manatee's social organization is not well understood, research shows the most common and tightly knit bonds are between a mother and her calf. African manatees occur in a wide variety of habitats from rivers in the Sahel, to Central African rainforests, to coasts and around islands in the Atlantic Ocean. [5], The African manatee is a vulnerable species because of its meat, oil, bones, and skin, which can bring great wealth to poachers. However, males tend to be smaller than females. Typically, manatees stay in rivers, seas and oceans along the coast of several countries. The African manatee spends much of its time grazing on low hanging mangrove leaves and sea grass in this type of forest along the west coast, from Senegal in the north down to Angola in the south. For the past 14 years Keith-Diagne has been on a mission to protect the African manatee. On average they are believed to be from 800 to 1,200 pounds. Vegetation is then chewed by the manatee's strong molars, which are its only teeth. Therefore you will find them where the water is going to be at a warm temperature all the time. 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