Happy news! After 13 months of working with colleagues in Mali to get an export permit for manatee samples I collected there in November 2010 (which have since been added to by my colleagues) we finally got it! It’s amazing how long it can take to push simple paperwork through government bureaucracy, and I have learned that patience is definitely required. The permits are required so that I can legally ship the samples (which include bone, tissue, and even manatee feces, which will be used for genetics, age determination, and stable isotope analyses) to the lab in Florida. Once the analyses are complete, I’ll share the results back to my colleagues in Mali in the hope that the results will help them make informed management and conservation decisions for manatees. Now the next step is shipping… which has it’s own set of challenges from Mali!