To mark the year of the 50th Anniversary of the International Waterbird Census (IWC), Wetlands International ran the ‘IWC50 Let’s Make It Count!’ Campaign to increase the coverage of the Census, both in the number of hectares covered, and the numbers of countries where the Census takes place. The 2016 census was a huge success, and more waterbirds were counted in more countries and more places than ever before.
Waterbirds act as key indicators of wetland health, and can help to paint a picture of where problems might be arising along crucial flyways, and also upstream of the wetland itself. The IWC, as the longest-running waterbird monitoring activity has highlighted some important issues and set the methodology for Ramsar and Important Bird Areas (IBAs) surveys, as well as Site Action Plans for a number of key sites globally.
The 2016 Census also showed there is still a knowledge gap in the Indian Ocean; a region that is crucial for a number of flyways and for some critically endangered species. To address this gap, Coasts Count! Campaign was born.
Coastal regions are important wetlands for people and nature. People need coasts on the Indian Ocean for food, livelihoods and leisure. The waterbirds need them as important staging grounds for their migrations, or a more permanent home. And coastal regions are highly biodiverse regions that act as breeding grounds, nurseries and feeding grounds for many more species, not just avian.
Help us make sure Coasts Count!
We need help from governments, businesses, civils society organisations and individuals to help the IWC get a clear picture of what is happening in the Indian Ocean.
We’re seeking pledges from these groups to help with experienced counters, logistics, equipment and accommodation.
If you are a keen birder, and think that you could help take the census in the Indian Ocean in January/ February next year, please take the pledge to become a counter. We’re looking for teams across the Indian Ocean, including in some of the Gulf States, East Africa, and Asia to give us better coverage in the region.
If you’re not able to make it to count physically, please consider making a donation to the Waterbird Fund and help us to raise funds to send teams to the Indian Ocean, provide equipment, help with transport, skill share with local groups d individuals, and for vital conservation work.
Thank you for your help, for waterbirds and their wetlands.