A four-day course on Manatee monitoring on Wednesday 22 June commenced at Hotel Barmoi for Anglophone speaking countries.
The course is being organized by Wetlands International.
The objective of the course is to provide participants with useful information that would enable them gain a better understanding of the manatee, its distribution area and the major threats facing the species and also for them to conduct efficient monitoring and awareness campaigns for communities and decision makers.
The West African manatee is an herbivorous aquatic mammal.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ahmed Abu Kemokai, said that over 350 Manatee have been killed in three years.
He added that the Manatee population is on the decline because of loss of its habitat, adding that it has been listed on IUCN red list of endangered species.
Director of Fisheries at the Ministry of Fisheries, Alpha A Bangura, said that his ministry has the mandate to manage and conserve aquatic species.
He added that the Manatee has been ruthlessly hunted by people for meat.
The Director maintained that as a ministry, they have mapped out areas where there is Manatee and have held series of sensitization for the protection of the species.
Wetland Africa Capacity Building Manager, Abdoulaye Ndiaye, spoke of the importance to protect the Manatee and further spoke of the threats facing the species.
Ndiaye reiterated that Wetlands International Africa has worked on the status and the value of the Manatee in its distribution areas.
The Capacity Building Manager further disclosed the efforts to develop a regional strategy for the conservation of the West African Manatee.
By Abibatu Kamara