Even though the African manatee is the most endangered of all manatee species, they continue to fall prey to poaching along the Atlantic Coast of Africa. Their estimated population is under 10,000 worldwide, and experts suspect that there will be at least a 30% reduction in population during the next sixty years. The mammals’ habitat is being threatened because of dam construction and hunting for their meat and oil. CITES should be commended for its efforts to save these manatees from extinction.
Last fall, the nations of Benin, Senegal, and Sierra Leone submitted a joint proposal to ban the trade of African manatees and all of their products. This proposal is up for consideration at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which is taking place in Bangkok, Thailand from March 3-14, 2013.
CITES is an international agreement between the governments of many nations working to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Since it’s formation in the 1960′s, CITIES has protected over 30,000 species, including everything from live specimens to dried herbs to fur coats. There are 177 countries represented in CITES.
The Humane Society’s Mark Simmonds stated in a March 7, 2013 press release, ‘Trade is a growing threat to this species, which is also facing a range of other growing human pressures, including habitat loss resulting from climate change. A ban on international trade is an important part of protecting this species and ensuring its long-term survival.”
Sign my petition to praise CITES parties for their interim decision to protect the African Manatees and to encourage them to uphold the decision for the remainder of the meetings.
Photo credit: Thomas Bucher via Fotopedia