Lagos State government yesterday said it has rescued a huge Manatee popularly known as Sea Cow from a riverine Community in Agboyi Ketu Local Council Development Area of the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya who stated this to newsmen said the fully aquatic herbivorous mammal was rescued when it was caught by the trap set by an artisanal fisherman in the area.
Onasanya explained that the mammal is an endangered species which breeds only a single calf once in two years and listed by World Conservation Union as a specie vulnerable to extinction because of its meat, bones, and skin which can bring great wealth to poachers.
He noted that the mammal are in three species of West Indian, West Africa and Amazonia with highest population in Guinea- Bissau, the lagoon of Cote d’voire , the southern portions of Niger river in Nigeria and the coastal lagoons of Gabon.
Onasanya added that the manatees measure up to 13 feet with as much weight as 590kg which graze on water plants in tropical seas and consume about 10 per cent to 15 per cent of its body weight in vegetation.
The Permanent restated the commitment of the State government to continuous formulation of policies geared towards the preservation of wild in the State stressing that this will add up to tourism potential of Lagos.
He added that the government is also taking giant strides in ensuring that fishing activities in the State becomes more lucrative.
Onasanya assured that fish famers will always be included in the agricultural value chain empowerment of the State.
He noted that the manatee has been kept safely in the custody of Origin zoo in Ikorodu area of the State.
‘’This animal can be a source of tourist attraction to the State if properly taken care of. To this end, the government has already taking all necessary steps in providing a conducive and habitable environment for the sea cow’’. The Permanent Secretary said
The artisanal fisherman who trapped the mammal, Mr David Oyenuro applauded the State government on its swift action at preserving the animal.
He urged the state government to continue to support the fishermen with their fishing tools stressing that most of their fishing implements get damaged whenever they encounter huge aquatic animals such as the manatee.