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Senegal: Manatee necropsy in Bamboung

Just after I left for Guinea-Bissau, Tomas got a report of a dead manatee in central Senegal at Bamboung marine protected area. Our car was in the shop for repair, but Tomas was undaunted… he rented a car and drove through the night to get to Bamboung to do a necropsy and collect samples with the local EcoGuards. This was another great opportunity for us to train local people in manatee sampling techniques, and they were all very interested to learn.

The carcass was an adult male manatee that appears to have died of natural causes (no actual cause of death was found, but there was no sign of hunting, and the carcass was found in a protected area where no hunting exists).

Tomas took genetics and hair samples from the carcass which we’ll use to add to our population database, and for studying African manatee diet.

The local guys got creative rolling the carcass onto it’s belly in order to take accurate length measurements

Getting ready to take total length measurement. The manatee was 380 cm, one of the biggest ever recorded for Senegal! The only bigger measurement (400 cm) was taken on a carcass near San Louis, Senegal that was reported by Depuy and Maigret in 1978.

 The entire group posed with Tomas and the manatee ear bone he removed from the skull, which will allow us to determine the age of the manatee.

After the necropsy, the EcoGuards offered to show Tomas 6 of the local springs where manatees are regularly seen drinking freshwater. There are over 20 known springs in this area, and we hope to further document their locations and manatee use in the near future.

Great work guys!!

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