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The Manatee Working Group got the job done!

For the past two days, the Manatee Working Group that was convened here at the CMS meeting in the Canary Islands has been working on an Action Plan for the species in West Africa. As a framework we used the Conservation Strategy that has been worked on for the past several years by Wetlands International, so that the two documents and their recommendations will be compatible. There are four main Themes of the Action Plan: Policies and Legislation, Applied Research, Restoration and Safeguarding of Manatee Habitats, and Awareness and Education. Each section has Recommended Actions that were prioritized and leads identified. Leads include government bodies, partner countries, NGOs, etc. The group also discussed proposing a re-classification the species as a CMS Appendix I Species (this would raise it to a more endangered status than it’s current position as an Appendix II species). Togo and Niger will take the lead on working on this proposal. The Action Plan outline was presented to the CMS delegates on the last afternoon of the meeting. It was a great experience for me to be involved in the working group discussions and hopefully I can continue to be involved.

Also, a very nice fellow named Remi from the Pew Environment Group and has posted a comment on his blog about these meetings and manatees: God is an Appendix II species.

The West African Manatee Working Group in session yesterday.Tim Dodman was the Reporter for English and Akoi Kouadio was elected as the Chairman of the group. Also in the photo is Mr. Bonassidi, who is the Conservator of Conkouati National Park in the Congo. Isidore Ayissi of Cameroon was elected as the French Reporter.

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