The Impact of Human Encroachment and River Bank Agricultural Activities on the Habitat of the Manatee (Trichechus Senegalensis) Along the Lower Benue River, Benue State, Nigeria
The impact of human encroachment and river bank Agricultural activities on the habitat of the manatee (Trichechus Senegalensis) was investigated. The method of data collection involved the use of a structured questionnaire administered to farmers and fishermen. Vegetation survey in three selected sites along the river was carried out during the dry and raining seasons and crops cultivated during these seasons were identified. Chemicals used by farmers, measurement of settlements and farms from the river bank as well as the population trends in the selected zones were investigated. The result was subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics. Nine different vegetable crops were cultivated in Makurdi over an area of 16.974 ha, while 3 crops were cultivated in Abinsi (11.2076 ha) and 2 in Gbajimba (6.8775 ha). Plant diversity in Makurdi during the dry season is (0.1322), Abinsi (0.795) and Gbajimba (0.0568) while Abinsi had a diversity of 0.3281 Makurdi 0.2524 and Gbajimba 0.1749, during the raining season. Correlation coefficient (r) shows a significant relationship (p>0.05) between plants during the dry and rainy period in all the three zones. There is massive use of chemicals during the dry season farming while there is an increased activity of sharp sand collection along the river.