SILVER2022

African Aquatic Conservation Fund Inc

Mission

Through focused research, conservation, and education actions, the African Aquatic Conservation Fund is dedicated to the preservation of African manatees, turtles, cetaceans and other aquatic wildlife and their habitats throughout the African continent. We work in close partnership with local people, scientists, governments, and other stakeholders for the benefit of both wildlife and humans.

Ruling year info

2016

Executive Director

Dr. Lucy Keith-Diagne

Main address

P.O. Box 366

CHILMARK, MA 02535 USA

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EIN

47-2592641

NTEE code info

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Biological, Life Science Research includes Marine Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology, etc.) (U50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

African Manatee Program

Research and conservation of African manatees including threat assessments, population genetics, feeding ecology, and other natural history and ecology studies. Studies include the first range-wide genetics study of the species which has identified four populations to date; the first feeding ecology study to define African manatee diet using stable isotopes which indicated that African manatees regularly consume mollusks and fish in addition to plants; the first satellite tracking study; the first longevity study which indicated that African manatees can live at least 39 years; and the first growth rates and long-term feeding observations over time during three years rearing of an orphaned manatee calf in a coastal lagoon. This program currently leads threat assessment and mitigation studies in Senegal, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Work in Guinea will begin in 2021. The African Manatee program also trains African biologists, mentors graduate students, and leads public education and awareness programs.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

The mission of the African Chelonian Institute is to build the first center to consolidate knowledge related to all turtle species of the African continent and associated islands. The Institute’s vision is multi-faceted: it serves as a breeding facility for endangered African tortoises and freshwater turtles, it builds grassroots programs to re-introduce turtles back to their natural habitats, it houses one of the largest collections of reference specimens in Africa and a library of turtle media for study, and it serves as a training center for students and researchers, as well as an educational center open to the public. We are building a breeding facility and West Africa's first sea turtle rescue center in Ngazobil, Senegal, approximately 2.5 hours south of the capital of Dakar.

Additionally, field research on African turtle species continues in order to increase knowledge and conservation efforts. Currently this project’s field effort is focused on reintroductions of African spur-thighed Tortoises to the Ferlo in central Senegal and studies and a head-start program for the endemic Adanson’s mud turtle at Tocc Tocc Reserve in northern Senegal, a community-based reserve created by Tomas Diagne and the local people there to protect habitat, as well as other species. Additional studies are in progress for endemic forest tortoises in Ivory Coast.

An additional important function of the African Chelonian Institute is to receive African turtle species confiscated by officials in the context of the implementation of CITES (International Convention for Trade of Endangered Species) regulations. This activity is conducted in close collaboration with the Secretariat of the CITES convention, and with parties to the convention from the offices of Traffic International (Regional Office for Africa) the joint program of WWF & IUCN. ACI undertakes this activity both to save confiscated turtles from euthanasia (which is often the rule in cases of confiscation), as well as to try to repatriate the turtles back to their countries of origin or to include them in ACI’s captive breeding facility if other options are not available for them.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Senegal’s marine wildlife includes over 25 species of cetaceans, the African manatee, and four species of sea turtles, all of which are protected species under both international and Senegalese national laws.
Beginning in 2014, we and several other concerned biologists began quarterly surveys of the north coast between Dakar and St. Louis, Senegal to document stranded sea turtles, cetaceans, and other wildlife. In 2016 we also began developing a coastal network of fishermen, national parks and marine protected area staff, conservation professionals, and volunteers to report marine mammal and sea turtle sightings and strandings throughout the country year-round, so that the mortality of protected species can be accurately documented, and samples can be collected more quickly and effectively once animals strand.

All stranded marine mammals and sea turtles are documented and sampled for genetics and other biological studies. Carcasses are examined for signs of fisheries interactions or other human-caused mortality, and if found, these cases are thoroughly documented with samples of fishery gear collected if available. Access to fresher carcasses also increases the likelihood that causes of death may be able to be determined. All stranding data is analyzed by species, locality, season, and cause of mortality to detect potential trends in stranding occurrence. Additionally, we lead education programs in local communities to raise awareness of the protected status and threats to marine mammals and sea turtles.

Periodic monitoring of beaches and coastlines is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to assess marine mammals and sea turtles compared to aerial surveys or monitoring by ships. By collecting stranding information throughout the year over multiple years, we will be able to estimate of trends in mortality by species, season, and cause (fisheries bycatch, offshore gas exploration, natural, etc.). It’s also a way to assess temporal trends of biodiversity of cetaceans and marine turtles, to detect any unusual mortality events (UMEs), and to estimate the impact of human activities in real time in Senegalese waters. With this information, we can work towards better regulation and strict control of the national legislation and international conventions to limit the mortality of cetaceans and sea turtles.

Population(s) Served

Cetaceans, including whales and dolphins, are a highly understudied group in many parts of Africa, despite their widespread occurrence and high species diversity. Many cetacean populations are under intense anthropogenic threats and in need of active conservation.

Projects within this program include:

- The Omura’s Whale Project: The Omura’s whale is the newest species of baleen whale, and currently only one population globally is under focused multidisciplinary study.
- The Mozambique Channel Passive Acoustic Monitoring Project: Passive acoustic monitoring is an important and very effective technique for learning about the biodiversity and spatiotemporal distribution of cetaceans, particularly in poorly studied areas like the Mozambique Channel.
- Atlantic Humpback Dolphin Research and Conservation: Atlantic Humpback Dolphins are a critically endangered species which occurs only on the western / Atlantic coast of Africa. We are part of a partnership studying this species, primarily in Senegal.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Financials

African Aquatic Conservation Fund Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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African Aquatic Conservation Fund Inc

Board of directors
as of 10/30/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Andrew Holman

Nicole Adimey

Anders Rhodin

Michele Finn

Bertrand Lauret