Here in Gabon my friend Aimee, who has been doing fantastic outreach work for Mayumba National Park for several years, has been given a very generous donation to build the country’s first ecomuseum. It will sit near the top of a hill overlooking the beautiful wide beach and the ocean. Sea turtle nests (Mayumba is one of the most important nesting beaches in the world for Leatherbacks, and Olive Ridleys nest there as well) and breaching humpback whales will be visible from the center, as will the lagoon where manatees live. I’m hoping the center will begin to raise awareness about manatees in Gabon and am excited to help develop a permanent exhibit. I’ve donated one of the skeletons that I collected here several years ago and we are planning to articulate it (a big job) and hang it from the ceiling. Wildlife Trust and USGS Sirenia Project also donated an old tag, belt and tether which we’ll display along with a description of techniques used to study manatees in the wild.
Yesterday was an exciting day for the future center, because the Mayor of Mayumba signed a letter to donate the land it will be built on! It should be completed in about a year and a half. I’ll write more as it progresses. You can check out the plans and photos of the site here!