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Sereia Peninsula

So far I’ve mostly been writing about my trips up the Congo River, and from the interviews I’ve done, manatees do seem to be sighted most often in the deep tributaries off the main river. However, at the mouth of the Congo is the Sereia Peninsula (sereia means mermaid in Portuguese!), which is made up of sandy beach, a few fishing villages and mangrove habitat criss-crossed with channels. I spent parts three days visiting villages and touring the mangrove waterways last week. The habitat is good for manatees and there are several stunning areas where huge mangroves overhang the waterway, creating sunlit tunnels.

The Sereia Peninsula juts northward at the southern mouth of the Congo River in the lower left of this Google Earth photo.

Mangrove cathedral

Atlantic Ocean view at a village called Etuba


Most villagers we talked to say that although they remember manatees being common here in the past, they are now rarely seen here. Several people told us that they knew of manatees found dead in fishing nets about 2 years ago, and another man reported finding a fresh dead manatee with a large propeller cut when he went out to check his nets early one morning just over a year ago. Apparently there was an old manatee hunter here, but he died last year. And one man told me he has seen more manatees this year than in the past few. Infact, he claims he sees them fairly often and told me a place to go to watch for them during low tides. In the same area I suspect there may be some aquatic plants- it’s an open shallow section of one of the larger waterways (it resembles a lagoon more than a channel), so I hope to spend more time there during my next trip.

A village called Moita Seca I on the eastern side of the peninsula

An open shallow area where aquatic plants may grow and manatees are reported more recently

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