Bonn, 21 August 2014 - An AEWA-funded waterbird conservation project has recently been successfully completed in The Gambia. Focusing on breeding waterbird populations on the Bijol Islands, the project was carried out by the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM) with financial support from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in the framework of the AEWA Small Grants Fund (SGF).
The project started in December 2011 and was implemented over a period of two and a half years. It included components on waterbird monitoring, awareness-raising and capacity-building with a view to ensuring the sustainable management of the Bijol Islands and their avifauna.
The Bijol Islands form part of the Tanji River (Karinti) Bird Reserve and are situated along the Atlantic coast, in the West Coast Region of The Gambia. They are the only breeding site in The Gambia for the Grey-headed Gull, the Caspian Tern and the Royal Tern. The Islands are managed by DPWM which has monitored waterbirds on these islands since 1999; the collected data are used by Wetlands International and other stakeholders.
During the course of the project, DPWM trained 20 participants from the Tanji Bird Reserve and community on waterbird monitoring and inventory techniques. The Department also conducted awareness-raising workshops for natural resources managers and local communities, introducing the concept of flyways-based conservation.
Other awareness-raising activities included educational events which targeted schools, hotels and other stakeholders in the local communities of Brufut, Tanji, Madiana and Ghana Town. These activities also included the preparation and dissemination of a variety of information materials, particularly during the 2013 and 2014 World Migratory Bird Day campaigns. Other work undertaken by DPWM included monthly clean-ups of the Bijol Islands to remove plastic waste, gill nets and other pollutants.
Various field materials purchased in the framework of this project, including a boat, telescopes, binoculars and a GPS system, will contribute to sustained monitoring and survey activities at the project site. With co-funding from the Gambia Biodiversity Management Institutional Strengthening (GBMIS) Project, DPWM furthermore collected and assessed socio-economic and ecological data. This will help develop a protected area management and business plan for the Tanji Reserve and the Bijol Islands.
The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat congratulates DPWM on the successful completion of the project and hopes that the important monitoring and awareness-raising scheme for the Bijol Islands can be sustained. The Secretariat would also like to express its gratitude to the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in Switzerland for providing financial support for this project in the framework of the SGF.
For more information on the project please contact Mr Ousainou Touray, Deputy Director of the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management in The Gambia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AEWA Small Grants Fund became operational in 2010 and has since benefitted 11 conservation projects from 11 African countries with funds amounting to over EUR 200,000. The 2014 call for proposals is open until 10 October 2014.
For more information on the AEWA Small Grants Fund please visit the AEWA website.
By Birgit Drerup and Evelyn Moloko.
Last updated on 18 February 2021