Tomas and I would like to thank Save the Manatee Club for an amazing donation of a trolling motor, GPS and 4 life jackets to be used for manatee surveys at newly created Tocc Tocc Reserve in northern Senegal, the first reserve created specifically for the West African Manatee. Tomas has worked very hard over the past few years with the local community and the government of Senegal to get the reserve created. The area is a small lagoon on the western side of Lac de Guiers, a huge lake that provides drinking water for the capital city of Dakar and for local agriculture. Tomas saw his first West African manatees there several years ago, and realized that this quiet section of the lake where manatees are now often observed would be a great place to establish a sanctuary, and hopefully someday an education center. The reserve is also important habitat for the relatively rare Adanson’s Mud Turtle (Pelusios adansoni) and many species of waterbirds and fish.
Last summer a university student worked at the reserve conducting manatee surveys (he had 7 sightings) and interviewing members of the local community about manatees. This equipment is vital for further surveys and will provide greater safety and data accuracy. We hope to establish a database of year round sightings, organize a clean up of derelict fishing nets and hopefully tag manatees here to learn more about their habitat use patterns in the lake and the adjacent Senegal River. We are incredibly honored that Save the Manatee Club supports this work!
A view of Tocc Tocc Reserve, water lily paradise. So far I’ve documented 10 species of known manatee food plants there.