20 skulls and skeletons of African Manatees seized

A trafficker caught with 20 skulls and skeletons of West African Mantees was recently arrested. A similar amount had been sold to Malians the previous week, exposing an organized trade of surprising magnitude of this threatened animal.  The trafficker is behind bars and future interrogations are expected to shed more light on the illegal trade in Manatees.
The West African manatee, or seacow, is the least studied large mammal in Africa and faces serious threat. They are often referred to as the "forgotten" sirenian.
The African manatee has become a vulnerable species because its meat, oil, bones (used to make walking stick handles), and skin. In some countries, African manatees are sold to zoos and illegally exported. The connection to Mali is not surprising as ear infections, rheumatism, and skin conditions are supposedly cured there by manatee oil.

The present Manatee population in Africa has been reduced to less than 10,000 and in steady decline.  This seizure was a surprise as there was a question as to whether a Manatee population was even left in Togo.