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USFWS grant and CMS Aquatic Mammals Working Group

I’m very pleased to announce that my project has just been awarded another grant from the USFWS Wildlife Without Borders Program for African manatee research and conservation! This is my fourth consecutive grant from this funder, and this year the funds will be focused on projects in Central Africa, particularly Gabon and Cameroon. Now that I have the funding, I can start planning my trip to Gabon in August! I’ll be focusing on training and surveys in the Ogooue River in central Gabon, which is unfortunately the center of manatee hunting in that country, and literally nothing is known about the status of the manatee population there. My extremely motivated colleague Aristide Kamla will lead the Cameroon portion of the project.
In other news, last month I was invited to join the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) Scientific Council’s Aquatic Mammals Working Group. I attended the CMS meetings in Africa in 2007 and 2008 to help write the Memorandum of Understanding and Action Plan for African manatees, so I’m thrilled to be asked to become a more permanent advisor to this group. The role of scientific advisors is to provide good scientific advice to the Parties to the Convention and drive forward the policy needed for the effective conservation of cetaceans, sirenians, pinnipeds, and otters. I think this will be a great way to link the African manatee network I’m building with government leaders in all the range countries, and to promote our network activities within CMS.

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