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In 2011, marine-mammal biologist Lucy Keith-Diagne applied for a permit from the Republic of Mali to export manatee tissue and bone samples to the United States for genetic analysis. She had to wait 13 months for the permit to come through — and when nine samples of West African manatees (Trichechus senegalensis) were eventually shipped out, six of them were lost during US Customs and Immigration inspection. The mishap was just one of many fieldwork roadblocks that Keith-Diagne, at the African Aquatic Conservation Fund in Senegal, has faced in her career. Political unrest in Mali has since prevented her team from acquiring further samples of the marine mammals.