Utilization of the West African manatee(Trichechus senegalensis) in the traditional medicine in Niger

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Research Paper 01/02/2017
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Utilization of the West African manatee(Trichechus senegalensis) in the traditional medicine in Niger

Boureima Boubacar, Amadou Oumani A, Morou Boubé, Mahamane Ali, Yamba Boubacar
J. Bio. Env. Sci.10( 2), 126-134, February 2017.
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River Niger constitutes the core backbone which supports the livelihoods of the local communities living along its banks. This study focuses on the utilization of the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) in the traditional medicine in Niger. It aims to assess the local medicinal knowledge and the various diseases cured using manatees’ parts. The study which was conducted in fifty (50) villages along the River Niger from Koutougou (Department of Ayorou) to Dole (Department of Gaya) enabled to characterize the different usages of the manatees’ parts in the treatment of diseases. The methods consisted of socio-economic surveys, personal interviews and visits to villages’ markets for data collection. The study revealed that the West African manatee plays an important role in the treatment of diseases. It is also a source of income and a dietary supplement for the local communities. This study showed that all manatees’ parts are being used intensively but the most commonly used are the bones, the male sex organ and the fat oil. The flesh and the skin are usually eaten or sold. The existence of tough laws which confer to the manatee fully protection in Niger is a great step taken for its conservation. This situation hinders data collection by scientists and therefore promoting its conservation. Sustainable conservation of manatee in Niger can only be achieved if the local communities who are the guardians of the natural resources are fully associated in mapping out wildlife laws which should be flexible enough in order to take into account the traditional beliefs and customs of these communities.


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