Last June an adult female manatee died in a narrow lagoon called Mbodiene. I try to follow up on all of these reports since any information we can gather adds to our sparse knowledge of the species. This manatee was particularly interesting because it had been seen alive with 2-3 others several days before it died, and photos and reports clearly indicated it was in distress. Unfortunately I was in the USA at the time and could not get to the site myself. Due to the somewhat slow chain of communication, after the manatee died no one could get to the site fast enough to collect samples before the local population butchered the carcass for meat. There were enough witnesses to verify that the manatee did die naturally, it was not killed. Several people tried to help it as it struggled to breathe. But unfortunately once it died, people couldn't imagine seeing the meat "go to waste".
Mbodiene Lagoon is very narrow and shallow, especially at low tide.
On the way home we saw this sign for Pointe Sarene with a manatee caricature on it. Pt. Sarene also has a freshwater spring It may seem like these little bits and pieces of information, gathered so long after the manatee died, are not much. But when we know so little, every bit helps to piece together the African manatee's life history.