Occurrence pattern and threats to African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) in coastal areas of Ondo State, Nigeria
The present study aims to assess the occurrence pattern and threats to African Manatee in the coastal area of Ondo State. 51 focus group discussions among the fishermen across 17 communities in Ilaje, Irele, Ese-odo and Okitipupa local government areas were carried out. Field observation as well as 100 well-structured questionnaires were purposively administered to respondents in the study area. A descriptive analysis was used to analyze the questionnaire using SPSS Data editor while data collected on the focus group discussions were analyzed qualitatively through thematic analysis. African Manatee has shown wide distribution in Ondo State with the presence of their indices. 68 damaged nets, 45 grazed vegetation, 5 Dungs, 2 ripples on water and 1 sound production by manatee was confirmed in all the major river (River Oluwa) and its tributaries in the coastal communities. 2 manatees were accidentally captured, 15 sand mining sites and noise pollution was observed in 12 coastal communities during the survey. 85% of the fishermen had negative perceptions towards manatee as a result of destruction of fishing nets and eating of crop cultivated. These threats have the potential to drastically reduce the population of this species if not checked. Therefore, sustainable conservation intervention programme in the coastal areas should be prioritized.