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Distribution and exploitation of manatees in Sierra Leone

  • Randall R. Reeves (a1), Daphne Tuboku-Metzger (a2) and Richard A. Kapindi (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

West African manatees are believed to be declining over much of their range, including in Sierra Leone. They are nominally protected there, but they are traditionally caught and eaten because of their delicious meat and also because they are considered as pests by rice growers and fishermen. The authors' surveys in 1986–1987 showed that manatees are still widely distributed in coastal districts of the country, but that they are being regularly caught in some places, at levels that may not be sustainable. Much more needs to be known to guide appropriate action to ensure that the manatee remains a part of Sierra Leone's wildlife. It is encouraging that one of the authors has begun, under the government Fisheries Division, to implement a manatee research programme.

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T.J. O'Shea , C.A. Beck , R.K. Bonde H.I. Kochman and D.K. Odell 1985. An analysis of manatee mortality patterns in Florida, 1976–81. J. Wildl. Manag. 49, 111.

J.A. Powell 1978. Evidence of camivory in manatees (Trichechus manatus). J. Mammal. 59, 442.

H.H. Roth and E. Waitkuwait 1986. Répartition et statut des grandes espèces de mammifères en Côte-d’lvoire. III. Lamantins. Mammalia, 50, 227242.

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