Aspire Grant Program Awardee

Paul Rodrigue Ngafack

African Manatee ecology, threats, and conservation in Douala Edea Wildlife Reserve Cameroon

<p>The wide distribution of the vulnerable African manatee along the west coast of Africa contrasts with the low level of information about the biology and present status of the species, particularly in Cameroon. The objectives of this project are to determine and evaluate African manatee habitat conditions in the Lower reaches of Sanaga River; to increase the knowledge on abundance, distribution, and document threats to the species. These objectives will be achieved using boat surveys with Hummingbird side scanning sonar, Interviews and interaction with local community. This project will be implemented during a twelve-month period at the Douala Edea Wildlife Reserve (DEWR) which is an important refuge for many vulnerable species such as the African manatee and other aquatic and marine biodiversity, yet it is under severe pressure from unsustainable fishing practices, poaching and sand extraction. The main beneficiaries of this project are considered to be the riverside and fishing communities and the forest and wildlife staff. The expected outputs of this project include a map of manatee distribution throughout the study area, documentation of local and the traditional knowledge and recommendations for the development of a management plan for the conservation of the manatee and its ecosystem in Cameroon.</p>