Evaluation of present distribution and condition of the manatee in Cuanza River

Edson Marcus Tuenongoa de Carvalho

The wide distribution of the African manatee along the west coast of Africa contrasts with the low level of information about the biology and present status of the species, particularly in Angola. The objectives of this project are to determine and evaluate manatee habitat conditions in the Cuanza River; to increase the knowledge of its status, distribution, and natural history; to collect information on threats to the species; and to contribute to the implementation of a management program to protect manatees and their habitats. This project will be implemented at the Cuanza River in Angola during a six-month period. The science faculty of Agostinho Neto University will coordinate it, with technical support from international institutions and experts. The main beneficiaries of this project are considered to be the riverside and fishing communities of the manatee distribution zones, the academic institutions and ministries related to biodiversity, and, more generally, the scientific community. Among the planned outputs of the project will be a map of the manatee's distribution; an estimate of the species' status throughout the study area; documentation of the local and the traditional knowledge; and recommendations for the development of a management plan for the conservation of the manatee and its ecosystem.