Saving the African manatee of the Nkam River
The Nkam River is one of the known high concentration areas of manatee in Cameroon. The presence of the species in this river keeps the watercourse navigable by consuming the shore plant Echinocloa sp, which tends to invade the watercourse. Thus the manatee, by feeding on this plant, makes it possible to maintain the connection by river between Yabassi and Douala, maintains access to fishing sites for the populations of Wouri Bwele, Bodiman and Wouri Bossua, who essentially depend on this activity for their subsistence. Unfortunately, the manatee population of this river is undergoing a rapid decline over time. This decrease in the manatee stock is due to intense poaching resulting from a negative perception of the population towards this species. The KAP (Knowledge Attitudes and Practices) survey conducted by AMMCO in 2021 made it possible to understand that local populations believe that the manatee is an inexhaustible resource and attribute the decline in the stock to divine will.
Faced with this, AMMCO has undertaken collaborative actions with the services of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, the Institute of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and local traditional authorities aimed at intensifying research/monitoring, raising awareness and developing alternative income-generating activities. It is planned in this context an environmental education program in primary schools, educational talks within the communities, a recovery program of hunting weapons against the manatee coupled with the destruction of traps. According to the will of the communities and with regard to the context, the Income Generating Activities initiated include fish farming and snail farming. AMMCO plans to make Nkam a manatee-based tourist attraction site.