We drove to Kanel this morning and met up with Moutar, a local fisherman and our manatee contact, who has monitored the manatee situation here for many years. He took us to meet the local Water and Forestry officer, who knew where the manatee carcass that died last August was, and after some discussion he agreed to take us to it. He explained that when they found it last year, it was dead in a small pool where it had become trapped once the floodwaters receded. Apparently there are hundreds of such pools along the Senegal River floodplain, and most are in remote areas so no one would know if a manatee was trapped there. They dragged the carcass up this hillside (the guys called it a mountain, which, in this otherwise very flat landscape, I guess it is to them!) where it wouldn't get washed away by the next floods, and over the past 10 months the unrelenting sun has baked it. The skin was as hard as a rock, and all internal organs were gone.
Photo by Tomas Diagne
Inside the manatee we found dried gut contents and noticed fish net along with dried food remains, so unfortunately this guy had swallowed fish net. We will never know if he swallowed the net before or after he became trapped in the pool with no escape back to the river, but unfortunately it was a sad end for the poor thing.