African Manatee

African manateeThe African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) is a big, roundly-shaped mammal, whose forelimbs could serve as flippers...and whose rear is horizontal and flat. Its flexible flippers are for touching, embracing (other manatees of course) and in moving their food. The upper lip has a bristly layer, and it is segregated. It may interest you to know that they do not have canine teeth/incisors, so what do they have? Only molars, and these are for crushing their vegetation intake. Older ones (molars, not the Manatee) fall out, and a new set materializes.

Another name for it is the 'West African Manatee'. It weighs below five hundred kg. African Manatees are known to reside in lagoons, coastal territories and big rivers- from brackish all the way to freshwater. An African Manatee is dependent on hanging vegetation, as opposed to those submerged. A typical member of this breed is capable of journeying from 30 to 40 km per day through various waters.

The African Manatee's population runs from Mauritania up to Angola, but their numbers are on the way down. This has been caused by hunting, captures, among lesser reasons. There has been legal mandates set to protect the African Manatee, but it is still targetted by humans. Every so often, they are killed in control gates(dams) and turbines. If the locus is significantly damaged, a breed that thrivesin it is also affected.
In this case, coastal wetlands have been ruined due to mankind's activities. Cutting of wood has been causing the disintegration of mangrove areas. The clearing of mangroves greatly affect lagoons and other bodies of water.

Although the occasional shark or croccodile kills a manatee, the main threat for these animals are human related, habitat loss, poaching and other environmental influences.

Interesting fact: The Manatee has the unusual capability of moving each side of its lips independently.

Picture of the West african manatee by Sharon Mooney, licensed under GFDL

The African manatee, seacow, west african manatee is listed as Vulnerable (VU), considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the African manatee
A young / baby of a African manatee is called a 'calf'. The females are called 'cow' and males 'bull'. A African manatee group is called a 'herd'.

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