Bergen, Norway - Wetlands International hosted a side-event to argue the case for improved protection of West African Manatee at the CMS COP 10 in Bergen Norway. Momar Sow, Wetlands International’s Manatee officer presented the organisation’s great efforts to improve the database of information available on the manatee as well as encourage community conservation efforts.
One of 4 Sirenian Species, West Africa’s Manatee is only one yet to receive appendix I CMS and CITES listing. Its destruction is on the increases as more and more manatee deaths are reported. In Sierra Leone alone, there were 350 manatee deaths reported in the last 3 years. The existing wild life laws and MOUs suffer from inadequate implementation and enforcement. There is urgent n
eed for tougher international protection measures to ensure the survival of this endangered species.
Aboubacar OULARE, Guinea’s director of biological diversity and marine protected areas, emphasized the age-old mythical value places on the manatee. However with loss of traditional knowledge, communities have less respect for the manatee or its valuable mangrove habitat.
In addition, Wetlands International expressed the need for a regional coordination unit and offered itself as an ideal secretariat.
The side event also offered opportunities for exchange of information as other Sirenian Species conservations shared the results of their successful efforts to involve local communities and provide alternative livelihoods. Abudhabi’s UNEP/CMS office running the dugong MoU now has a strong experience in sirenian monitoring and wish to have collaboration with these initiatives on W.A. manatee (migration routes, livelihoods, etc.).
In closing the side event, the CMS technical officer, Borja Heredia congratulated Wetlands International for its extensive efforts. He went on to complement Wetlands International on its successful partnership significant partners such as the River Basin management bodies. He concluded by thanking all involved for the concrete steps taken towards conserving the manatee.
Pape Diomaye THIARE
Communications and Media Coordinator
Wetlands International Africa
Phone: +221 33 869 16 81