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Ecology and characterization of the habitat of the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) in Niger

By: Boureima Boubacar, A. Amadou Oumani, Morou Boubé, Mahamane Ali, Yamba Boubacar

Key Words: West African manatee, Manatee’s ecology, Bourgou, Niger

Int. J. Biosci. 10(5), 187-198, May 2017.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/10.5.187-198

Abstract

The study on the ecology of the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) was carried out on the Nigerien portion of the Niger River. It aims to overview the manatee’s habitat and its feeding habit in order to identify the challenges associated to its conservation. The transect method combined with the phytosociological survey of Braun Blanquet (1928) was used for the data collection on the vegetation using 25 m² (5m × 5m) quadrants arranged on the river bank. In addition, other field parameters like turbidity, PH and water temperature were recorded for a better understanding of species ecology and vegetation’s dynamics. During the 224 hours were spent scanning the river with a digital portable sonar and observing manatees’ feeding signs, ninety (90) feeding signs were recorded. During the study, twenty six (26) plants species from eleven (11) families were recorded. The overall Shannon index recorded was 4.16 depicting a rich and varied habitat. The study revealed that human activities like rice cultivation, animal husbandry and urbanization heavily impact on the manatees’ ecosystem as shown by lower Shannon indexes recorded in “Ayorou-Farié” and “Farié-Niamey” transects with H equal 3.89 and 3.66, respectively. The maximum diversity (Hmax) recorded is 4.70. The perturbations in the physicochemical quality of the river are caused by diverse pollution mainly domestic and industrial wastes that contribute in the increase in the water PH which ranges from 8.2 to 8.7 around Niamey, the Niger’s capital. The study revealed that Echinochloa stagnina (bourgou) is the most preferred plant species by the manatee.

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Ecology and characterization of the habitat of the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) in Niger

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Boureima Boubacar, A. Amadou Oumani, Morou Boubé, Mahamane Ali, Yamba Boubacar.
Ecology and characterization of the habitat of the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) in Niger.
Int. J. Biosci. 10(5), 187-198, May 2017.
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