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City of Banjul
Saturday, September 26, 2020

Parks & Wildlife begins national water bird census

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By Samsideen Ceesay The Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM) through support from Wetland International and Dutch partners recently begins national water bird census at a ceremony held in Tanji Bird Reserve headquarters. The Gambia through Department of Parks and Wildlife Management signed several international environmental treaties and agreements which have obligations to be fulfilled by each party to the convention/ agreement. Speaking at the event, Abdoulie Sawo, Conservationist at the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management said the Gambia is a signatory to many international conventions such as Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR), Convention on Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) among others. He noted that the three-day refresher training session will take place before actual field assessment to ensure gathering of reliable quality data since the same data collection process is taking place in most part of Europe and Africa. This exercise will establish the population, breeding and wintering status of migratory water birds. He pointed out that sites identified to be counted were; Tanji Bird Reserve, Kartong, Sanyang, Bolon Fenyo community Reserve (Gunjur), Jahally- Pacharr Rice field, Kaur, Baobolon Wetland Reserve, Niumi National Park, Tanbi Wetlands National Park among other areas considered important for water birds. He added: “The census also takes into account environmental problems that are affecting migratory water birds like cultivation, climate change, land degradation, food, and water availability with a view to map out required conservation strategies need to address those problems”, he said. Also speaking at the event, Kawsu Jammeh, a Senior Wildlife Conservation Officer, in his deliberation mentioned that The Gambia recorded over 560 (water and forest) species of bird, looking at the size of the country approximately 11,000 square kilometers which indicates high density and is something to be proud of as a nation. He gave an example of Bijlo Islands, the only known off-shore island which used to host over 40,000 nesting births but due to climate change the islands has been seriously eroded, vegetation cover removed and presently during breeding season, the eggs are washed away at high tide. According to him, the department of Wildlife is working tirelessly to prevent such from happening. As a Ramsar site, this study will help share issues faced with migratory water birds in particular with their partners. He noted that plans are underway for more collaboration in future to put some areas under formal protection particularly for communities and improve the existing protected areas as well. “This year’s plan is to publish the data at the end of the census so that people will understand what species do exist where and their habitat conditions as well. This will contribute immensely to improving data for bird watchers visiting the country during this period”, he said. Peter Sudbeck, Head Officer WADDEN SEA expressed joy taking part in this year’s water bird census in The Gambia because Germany and The Gambia share migratory birds. Therefore, he noted, it should be shared responsibility to look into birds’ welfare and their conservation status and cooperation on the whole path ways of migratory birds from Europe to Africa. In Europe, he said, there are joint tasks that count but counting at their wintering grounds in The Gambia is very important for the entire globe and wish to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries.]]>

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