Biodiversity - waterbirds
By Taej Mundkur -
I recently got the chance to experience the natural beauty of Djoudj National Park in Senegal for the first time and see its conservation needs. The Djoudj is a paradise for over a million waterbirds and a lot of other biodiversity. It provides an ideal setting for developing sustainable solutions such as tourism that should allow the surrounding villages, visitors and nature to benefit from this natural wonder.
By Szabolcs Nagy and Stephan Flink -
Wetlands International’s team is currently working on the 6th edition of the AEWA Conservation Status Report, which summarises the available knowledge about the size and trends of migratory waterbird populations.
By Szabolcs Nagy
The second stage of the Grand West Asian Wintering Waterbird Survey in Saudi Arabia has covered the Red Sea coast between Jeddah and Jizan. During our survey, we have visited the Southern Cornish of Jeddah, the Shoaybah Al-Mudaylif Coast, the coast near to Al Qunfodah, the Al-Shoqaiq Cost, Ras Altarfa and the southern and northern cornishes of Jizan.
The Hague, The Netherlands - With the societal and environmental costs of wetland degradation already huge and growing fast, Wetlands International brought over 100 current and prospective partners and supporters together to explore opportunities for positive action to sustain and restore wetlands in a reception at the atmospheric De Glazen Zaal (Glass Room) in the Hague. The evening featured an interactive marketplace to showcase some of our current initiatives, plus distinguished speakers and interviews with current partners on how our work with different sectors is helping to protect and restore wetlands. In addition to celebrating World Wetlands Day, the event also featured the launch of Wetlands International’s new logo.
The Global Freshwater Fish BioBlitz kicked off on World Wetlands Day to engage nature lovers in freshwater fish conservation. The Freshwater Fish Specialist Group (FFSG), of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Wetlands International, has joined forces with other international groups to introduce this new global initiative.
The recent outbreak of the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza is causing many victims amongst poultry and wild birds in the Republic of Korea. The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds has issued a statement on this outbreak saying that there is currently no evidence that wild birds are the source of this virus. Instead the focus of disease control actions must be on the domestic poultry sector.
A new online Atlas of freshwater biodiversity presenting spatial information and species distribution patterns was launched today. The Atlas is an output of BioFresh, an EU-funded project supported by Wetlands International that is putting together the widely dispersed information about life in our rivers and lakes, to better understand, manage and protect our freshwaters for generations to come.
By Szabolcs Nagy
The 5th Conservation Status Report produced by Wetlands International for the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) highlighted that our understanding of the status of wintering waterbirds is the weakest in the West Asian / East African flyway. This is partially a consequence of insufficient capacity in the region. To help tackle the problem we are supporting the development of strategies for countries in the region with the help of the MAVA Foundation.
Bonn 29 August 2013 – The Waterbird Harvest Specialist Group (WHSG) affiliated to Wetlands International was re-launched on the 28th of August 2013 at a special session on waterbird management at the 31st Congress of the International Union of Game Biologists which took place in Brussels, Belgium on the 27 – 29 August 2013.
A newly published study shows that three species of waterbirds (tufted duck, goosander and goldeneye) are shifting their wintering grounds northwards along the North-West Europe flyway in response to rising temperatures. Rising temperatures due to climate change and shifting ranges for wintering waterbirds have profound implications for the conservation of site networks along the flyways and highlights the importance of adaptive management approaches.
Last week delegates to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Conference of Parties (COP16) in Bangkok, Thailand, agreed to stronger conservation measures for the West African manatee. The proposal was led by Benin, Sierra Leone and Senegal with support from Wetlands International.
Dakar (SEN) / Ede (NL) / Naryan-Mar (RU) – A new initiative to protect migratory waterbirds flying between the Arctic and Africa has been launched by Wetlands International. Funded by the Arcadia Fund, the three-year initiative will engage local people and governments to develop a coherent approach to the management of the wetland sites used by the birds along the flyway.
Ede, the Netherlands - Wetlands International congratulates Jan van der Winden on his Herman Klomp prize for his long-term commitment to the protection of birds. In collaboration with Wetlands International, Jan was instrumental in the success of the Follow the Bird! initiative.
Bucharest, Romania - At the recently concluded 11th Ramsar Conference of the Parties in Bucharest, Romania, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) signed Resolutions of Cooperation with both the Ramsar Secretariat and African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) to work together in order to better promote Arctic wetlands and bring greater attention to their importance. As a close partner of Ramsar, CAFF and AEWA, Wetlands International welcomes these agreements.
Wetlands International Launched the First Interactive Online Database on Waterbird Population Estimates at Ramsar COP11
11th meeting of the Ramsar Convention (COP11) 6-13 July 2012 in Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania - Wetlands International will press for adoption of resolutions at the Ramsar Conference of Parties that call upon countries to take action on some of the most pressing challenges facing wetlands, such as energy production and pesticide use in rice fields. As an International Organisation Partner (IOP) we will also urge for a climate change resolution that commits Contracting Parties to take up the newly available incentives to invest in the protection, restoration and sustainable use of their peatlands, as part of their strategies to address climate change.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - During Rio+20 in Brazil, the 'Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands Initiative' will be launched in a side event on 15 June. This initiative utilises the TEEB approach to generate a better understanding of the ecosystem service values of water and wetlands to encourage additional policy momentum and business commitment for their conservation, investment and wise use.
La Rochelle, France - The 5th Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), 14-18 May 2012, La Rochelle, France, organised by AEWA Secretariat, will kick off shortly in La Rochelle in France. The five-day meeting carries the theme “Migratory waterbirds and people – sharing wetlands”. Wetlands International will contribute to this theme by three publication releases and two key events.
Wetlands International expressed its deep concern about the proposed 53km Danube regulation project in Croatia in a letter to Croatia's Minister for Environment and Nature Protection Mirela Holy. The NGO understands that this regulation would have a severe impact upon the unique river landscape and the most highly valued floodplain area and forests of the entire Danube.
Palembang, Indonesia - The meeting of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) on waterbirds has designated the Sembilang National Park in South Sumatra as ‘network site’ for waterbird conservation. The Indonesia office of Wetlands International will from now on host the national secretariat for migratory bird management.
Ede, The Netherlands, February 16, 2012
Wetlands International is calling on the Netherlands to commit to its international obligations for the depoldering of the Hedwigepolder, part of an important delta in the country. Dutch Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Mr. Bleker, meets Euro commissioner of Environment Janez Potocnik today to discuss this. The delta concerns a vital and unique nature area of international importance that we should safeguard, says the non-profit organization. The depoldering was agreed to compensate environmental damage caused by the deepening of the estuary the Western Scheldt.
See also the Dutch release.
Ede, 15 februari 2012
Wetlands International roept Nederland op haar internationale verplichtingen na te komen voor ontpoldering van de Hedwigepolder. Over dit onderwerp spreekt Staatssecretaris Bleker van Economische Zaken, Landbouw en Innovatie morgen met Eurocommisaris Janez Potocnik van Milieu. De Zeeuwse Delta is een vitaal en uniek natuurgebied van internationaal belang waar we zeer zuinig op moeten zijn, aldus de non-profit organisatie. De ontpoldering is afgesproken ter compensatie van natuurschade veroorzaakt door de verdieping van de Westerschelde.
Slimbridge (UK) - Widespread declines in birds that spend most of their lives at sea are alarming conservationists. Seven species of seaduck that spend the northern winter in the Baltic – a key non-breeding area – have dropped in number by up to 65% in 15 years, without any clear explanation.
Wetlands International is deeply saddened by the loss of Mark Barter, one of its Associate Experts. The world of waterbird and wetland conservation along the East Asian - Australasian Flyway has lost a pioneering figure and a role model with his passing away on 21 November 2011. Mark always held a passion for shorebirds throughout his life, helping to guide the development of the “National Plan for Shorebird Conservation in Australia” (1987), before becoming the second Chairman of the Australasian Wader Studies Group (AWSG) from 1987 to 1997.
Wetlands International is very concerned about the permission for Exxon and Rosneft for oil exploration in the Russian Arctic Sea. The area designated overlaps with two protected natural areas. Officially oil exploration is banned in these areas.
Wetlands International is deeply saddened to report the loss of one of flamingo conservation's champions. Dr. Brooks Childress, former Chair of the IUCN/SSC Wetlands International Flamingo Specialist Group from November 2004 to July 2010, passed away in the early hours of 22 July 2011.
Gland, Switzerland (IUCN) – Africa is being given a unique opportunity to conserve its tremendous diversity of freshwater species – a critical resource for many of Africa’s poorest people. African countries can now decide to use their water resources sustainably, and avoid paying millions of dollars, as is the case in Europe, to rectify poorly planned wetland development.
Washington, D.C. - Representatives from the Convention on Migratory Species, Ramsar Convention, UNEP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Birdlife International, the GEF Secretariat, International Crane Foundation, and Wetlands International met to discuss several Global projects on Migratory Species. Specific to the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative (WHMSI) a project entitled: Conservation of globally important migratory species and the critical habitats needed to complete their lifecycles within the Americas is under design.
Rapid land use change for intensive agriculture and urban functions has a devastating impact, particularly on wetlands. In the light of World Migratory Bird Day 2011 on 14-15 May, Wetlands International calls for attention on the implications of land use change for waterbirds.
Wetlands International is very concerned about the renewed plans by the Tanzanian government to mine for soda ash in Lake Natron. The plan to mine at this very precious but vulnerable lake conflicts with the government’s international commitments and could cause the loss one of Africa’s most important Wetlands of International Importance, being the only breeding site of the East-African population of Lesser Flamingo.
29 October 2010. Wetlands International is relieved by the successful outcome of the Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan. The approved 20 targets for 2020 are an important step to save our global biodiversity, including wetland areas.
Nagoya, Japan - Today, the UN Biological Diversity Convention in Japan has started on its second and last week. The aim to agree on ambitious global targets for the coming decade will be challenging; success is uncertain. The pace of the negotiations is slow.
The rate of decline of waterbird populations has slightly decreased over the last three decades. However, 47% of the waterbird populations are still declining and only 16% are increasing. The status of waterbirds is improving mainly in North America and Europe, while it is least favourable in Asia. Especially long distance migrants appear to be vulnerable.
Nagoya, Japan (CBD) - Wetlands International will present the State of the World’s Waterbirds 2010 on Thursday 21 October at the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan. Through this publication, the organisation will show how different groups of waterbird populations are doing in different parts of our world.
Nagoya, Japan (CBD) - Wetlands International will hold two press conferences at the conference of the UN Biological Diversity Convention (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan in the morning of Thursday 21st of October, 2010.
While global biodiversity loss increases at alarming rates, ministers are gathering in Japan for the most important biodiversity meeting of the decade. During this CBD meeting, a clear picture will be presented on the worsening state of the world’s biodiversity. Yet little in the way of additional action or commitment is expected from the governments in attendance.
New visitors centre displays migratory bird flyways from the Arctic to Africa
Wetlands International and Dutch nature organisation Staatsbosbeheer demand attention on the international importance of the Dutch Oostvaardersplassen as key link in migratory birds’ networks of wetlands (flyway). The future visitors centre built by Staatsbosbeheer in Oostvaardersplassen will play an exemplary role in displaying intercontinental bird migration to its public. Wetlands International and Staatsbosbeheer formalised their cooperation by signing an agreement on Thursday 23 September in Lelystad, The Netherlands.
Bonn, Germany. New conservation plans for the Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus covering its entire range and migration routes that span continents have now been endorsed to save the species from extinction. During its annual migration, the Siberian Crane travels 5,000 kilometers from its breeding grounds in Yakutia and western Siberia, intermediate resting and feeding places, to its wintering sites in southern China and Iran respectively.
The Hague, The Netherlands - Key organisations from the Wings Over Wetlands project partnership, representing the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), Wetlands International and BirdLife International signed a historic collaborative agreement to redouble their efforts to conserve migratory waterbird species and their critical habitats in Africa and Eurasia.
The Hague, the Netherlands. A new website providing information on thousands of wetlands and hunderds of waterbird populations shows the difficult situation for the migratory waterbirds of Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia.
Wetlands International strongly welcomes the suspension by President Obama of oil drilling in the offshore USA territories in the Arctic. The period of suspension is needed for a proper analysis and discussion about the risks of offshore drilling.
The International Day of Biodiversity is Saturday 22 May. 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and the year that the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will conclude that the aims to reduce biodiversity loss have not been achieved. According to Wetlands International, this crisis for biodiversity is directly connected to the global water crisis that is threatening our planet.
The world’s wetlands such as rivers, mangroves, deltas and lakes are degrading faster than any other ecosystem type. Increasingly many are reaching the critical stage where damage will be irreversible which has serious repercussions for the water and food security of poor people. This is revealed in the in-depth review on inland waters (wetlands) which is being discussed at the technical meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which kicked off Monday in Nairobi.
“Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!” - is this year's central WMBD theme and aims to raise awareness about globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on those birds on the very edge of extinction - the Critically Endangered. On 8-9 May 2010 thousands of people around the world will be attending World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) events which will celebrate bird migration and highlight migratory birds in crisis.
Waterbirds in Asia are in trouble. Rapid and poorly-planned human development leading to a lack of adequate official conservation of their important wetland sites are key reasons for their declining numbers. These are the conclusions of the newly published report by Wetlands International, covering over 6,700 wetland sites in 27 Asian countries.
The book An Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and Western Eurasia published by Wetlands International was awarded third prize in the 2009 Best British Bird Book of the Year Competition. This book - also known as the Wader Atlas - was produced jointly with the International Wader Study Group.
Celebrating World Wetlands Day, today's spotlight is on the importance of wetlands for reducing impacts of climate change. Globally, there is a growing recognition of the key role that the protection and restoration of wetlands like marshes, peatlands, mangroves and coral reefs can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to its impacts. Now, this recognition has to be turned into action.
The satellite transmitter equipped Black-tailed Godwit called ‘Gaast’ has been found in the Inner Niger Delta of Mali, Africa after flying south from Friesian pastures in northern Netherlands in June. ‘Gaast’ is part of 15 individuals satellite marked in a project of the Groningen University under the Global Shorebird Network programme to study the precise migratory movements of the Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa that migrates between the Netherlands and western Africa.
Maputo, Mozambique. A national group to carry out wetland biodiversity monitoring and other biodiversity conservation work has been created in Mozambique. This is the most important outcome of a national wetland and waterbird training course held at the Natural History Museum of Mozambique (Museu da Historia Natural) in Maputo, Mozambique from 9 - 17 November 2009.
Three dead manatees were found last week in the waters of the Navel River, a northern tributary to the Senegal River near the bridge-dam erected by SAED. According to witness accounts, the manatees carried by atypical strong currents violently slammed into the structure’s gates. This tragedy just one year after the rescue of five manatees in similar conditions re-launches the debate around the need for better integration of species’ migration, particularly the manatee, in the Senegal River valley.
Seven countries in West Africa, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde have agreed to collaborate in the conservation of important sites for migratory birds along their coasts that receive little or no attention from ongoing conservation initiatives in the region. The decision was reached after a 4-day workshop (November 16-19, 2009) in Dakar Senegal, organized by BirdLife International in collaboration with Wetlands International.
Limbe, Cameroon. For the first time in Africa the Flyway Training Kit was put into practice at the first regional Training of Trainers (ToT) course in Limbe, Cameroon. Receiving strong positive feedback, this training kit, developed in the framework of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project will be an important tool to build capacity towards the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats.
Global NGO Wetlands International has further expanded its reach and impact on conservation, restoration and sustainable use of wetlands. For the fifth consecutive year it has grown in both financial and operational size. This concludes the newly published Annual Review 2008.
The invasive fish species of Tilapia and Mosquitofish coming from badly constructed fish farms are diminishing native fish species in Fiji. This is the result of a six-year study to 20 catchments on the Pacific islands. ‘Invasive Alien Species’ is today’s International Day for Biological Diversity theme.
More than half the populations of waders in Europe, West Asia and Africa are declining at an accelerating rate. There is a need for better protection of the key wetlands along their flyways, especially in Africa and the Middle East. This is the conclusion of the Wetlands International’s Wader Atlas, the first comprehensive overview of key site networks for waders in Europe, West-Asia and Africa, launched in London today.
In their long journeys each year millions of migratory birds must cross many frontiers and obstacles. Therefore, ’Barriers to Migration’ is the theme of this year’s World Migratory Bird Day (9-10 May 2009). The Follow the Bird! initiative of Wetlands International has shown that many birds do not make it back home; decreasing stopover wetland sites, hunters, power lines, and even airplanes cross their paths of thousands of kilometers.
Bonn/Nairobi. In the weekend of 9-10 May 2009), thousands of people around the world take part in World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) events to draw attention to the many man-made obstacles birds face during their migration. The central theme for this year’s World Migratory Bird Day - “Barriers ot Migration” – aims to highlight the effects man-made structures such as wind turbines, communication masts, tall buildings and windows, power lines and fences have on migratory birds.
The Wader Atlas is a milestone publication presenting the current knowledge of the numbers, distribution and movements of waders in the Africa-Western Eurasia region. Built on ten years of study, the Wader Atlas is a beautifully illustrated book, providing maps, trends, and a wealth of detailed information on this remarkable group of birds.
A new 3-year project on “Strengthening waterbird and wetland conservation capacities in North Africa (WetCap)” is embarking on its first year of implementation as of this month. Within the framework of this project capacity building activities will take place in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania.
The largest waterbird congregation site in the Indian subcontinent is the site of a new international study of migratory birds and their role in the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1. The study, launched by the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and its partners, is the first of its kind in India.
Wetlands International Africa has launched the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Network (BIOMAC) in Guinea Bissau at the 4th Forum of the Regional Coastal and Marine Conservation Programme for West Africa (PRCM). BIOMAC addresses the many challenges facing the West African coast through information sharing, environmental monitoring, rapid reaction systems and capacity building. The mission of BIOMAC is ‘building strategic partnerships to protect our marine and coastal heritage’.
Five Manatees have been saved from a near death in the Senegal River by a joined Wetlands International Africa operation. The large mammals – also known as Seacows, although they live in fresh water rivers – were stuck in one of the River Senegal’s arms in Navel in the Matam Region of Senegal.
A new and stunning book was published by Wetlands International on intertidal mudflats of the Yellow Sea, which are under critical threat by unsustainable development. The book offers a wonderful photographic journey that follows the migration of shorebirds flying from their breeding grounds in the Arctic through East Asia to Australia.
Wetlands International advocates chances for the proposed resolutions of this week’s Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Many proposed changes demand attention for the link between wetland loss and climate change and for biofuels.
This is the Wetlands International Global Newsletter of Oct./Nov. 2008. It is filled with news on wetlands and climate change, migratory birds, international conferences, research, videos and publications.
Wetlands International supports the call of the global company Unilever for a moratorium on deforestation for palm oil. With the call, companies and NGOs dealing with palm oil urge companies to respect this moratorium. The call will also be translated into a resolution for the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (meeting in November 2008).
A study showing declines of 41 per cent of migratory waterbird populations along their main migration routes in Africa and Eurasia is presented to the Fourth Meeting of the Parties to AEWA (MOP4) in Antananarivo, Madagascar this week (15-19 September 2008).
10 September 2008. Tomorrow, the Industry, Research and EnergyCommittee (ITRE) of the European Parliament will vote about the Renewable Energy Directive. Wetlands International calls for a rejection of the 10% target for biofuel use in 2020.
Ten Purple Herons can be monitored from today onwards in their trek to Africa. These herons are equipped with a satellite transmitter, which allows their position to be determined with a ten metre accuracy. The flyway of the Purple Heron can be observed online at: www.vogelbescherming.nl/purperreiger.
September 1, 2008.
The UK think tank Policy Exchange has presented the costs of the most important climate measures. Reducing emissions from tropical peatlands is by far the cheapest way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions; using biofuels is by far the most expensive measure.
Surveys by scientists of Wetlands International Oceania, IUCN Oceania and Paris Museum of Natural History in France confirmed that Samoa has a unique and highly threatened freshwater fauna. At least three new records of fish were recorded for Samoa including one (perhaps 2) potential new species to science.
6 August 2008
A delegation of three Korean NGOs visited Wetlands International’s Headquarters in Wageningen at the end of July. Objective of their visit was to highlight the potential impacts of the Grand Canal Project to be built in Korea.
The planned Bujagali Dam in Uganda violates key social and environmental policies of its major funders: the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank. These new and devastating conclusions have just been presented by a AfDB research panel.
25-06-2008 Press release
Wetlands International is shocked by the decision of the Kenyan government to convert large tracts of the Tana wetlands in Kenya into sugarcane-for-ethanol plantations. This dramatic development confirms the NGO’s recent outlook ‘Biofuels in Africa’, which shows that biofuel production in Africa will lead to loss of wetlands and rainforest.
Bonn, 26 May Africa is expected to produce a relatively small but still substantial part of the global biofuel demand. Millions of hectares will be turned into large scale biofuel plantations. This will hardly take place in current agricultural areas. Especially natural areas of wetlands and rainforest – the hotspots for biodiversity - are vulnerable for this development.