Environmentalists condemn horrific video of Manatee captured in Niger Delta
A horrific video of threatened West African manatee dragged down a street in Burutu area of Delta State, at the weekend has attracted reactions from across the world. Sharing the video on its Twitter handle, Blue Planet Society, a volunteer pressure group campaigning to end the over-exploitation of the world’s ocean, condemned the action.
The horrific video yesterday attracted the reaction of the Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, who has vowed to investigate the matter.
In the trending video, described by many as ‘’distressing’’, ‘’distasteful’’, ‘’disgusting’’ and ‘’horrific’’, a captured manatee in the Niger Delta region was seen being dragged on bare ground to a cruel fate by some youths.
According to wikipedia.org, the African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis), also known as the West African manatee, is a specie of manatee, mostly herbivorous that inhabit much of the western region of Africa.
November is the Manatee Awareness Month. There are three species of manatees- the West Indian Manatee (found in the U.S.); the Amazonian Manatee; & the West African Manatee. They are Sirenians. The Steller’s Sea Cow was hunted to extinction in 1768.
Of all the three known species alive, West African Manatee, found in Cross River, Niger and Benue rivers and their tributaries, is commonly known as the sea cow; and believed to be the root of the mammy wata (water) myth in the Niger Delta region.
Reacting, Ikeazor said: “My attention has been drawn to a very distressing and distasteful video of a captured manatee in the Niger Delta region being dragged on bare ground to a cruel fate by some ill-informed/uninformed youth. I strongly condemn this act.
“It is sad that manatees remain one of the most heavily hunted aquatic mammals; the repeated occurrence must be of great concern to us all.
“The Ministry of Environment will increase efforts in wildlife conservation and working with relevant national, state agencies and conservationists especially in coastal regions to protect and conserve endangered marine species and their habitat’’, the minister stated in her twitter handle, @sharon ikeazor.
The Minister of State for Environment added that an awareness campaign must be carried out in the Niger Delta and coastal regions to educate the people to protect the Manatee and understand its importance in the nation’s biodiversity and its ecological importance.
She further explained: “But at the same time an alternative livelihood must be developed as an incentive to the coastal people to protect and not hunt manatees; we must gather widespread support and develop a specific conservation strategy for manatees in Nigeria.”
Many people who responded to the minister’s statement also vehemently condemned the action of the youths, suggesting that the Ministry of Environment needs to carry out aggressive public enlightenment/conservative education for inhabitants of Niger Delta and another coastal region on the importance attached to the protection of sea animals.