Bonn, 30 October 2014 – A waterbird conservation project in Senegal, co-funded in the framework of the AEWA Small Grants Fund (2012 cycle), has just been successfully completed.
The project focused on support for the sustainable management of the Réserve Naturelle Communautaire (RNC) de Tocc Tocc, located in north-western Senegal. Implemented over the period May 2013 to September 2014, the project was led by the Directorate of National Parks (Direction des Parcs Nationaux, DPN) in Senegal, with active participation from local stakeholders.
The RNC Tocc Tocc, created in 2011 by the Ronkh Rural Council in collaboration with the Department of National Parks, Wetlands International Africa and the NGO, Nature Tropicale Sénégal, was designated as Senegal’s fifth Ramsar site in September 2013. The reserve comprises the Lac de Guiers, a BirdLife International-designated Important Bird Area, which is also a major source of freshwater for the country’s capital Dakar. Being an integral part of the Senegal River Delta Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, the RNC Tocc Tocc boasts rich biodiversity and serves as home for large numbers of waterbirds.
In order to contribute to the sustainable management of the reserve, the project focused on strengthening habitat conservation and the waterbird population dynamics of the reserve, as well as increasing awareness of local communities and decision-makers of the importance of waterbirds and their flyways.
Numerous and diverse activities were carried out in the course of the project, yielding the following outputs:
- Rules of procedure for the management of the reserve were developed and subsequently endorsed by the key stakeholders through a highly participative process.
- The capacity of volunteers from the surrounding villages of Bountou Batt, Pakh, Tolleu, Windi Thily and Keur Idy was strengthened, including the reserve’s eco-guards and some members of the reserve’s management committee. This was achieved through two training courses on waterbird identification and migration as well as on the BirdLife International approach on IBA monitoring. Overall, 30 participants were trained.
- Monthly monitoring of the reserve was carried out over a period of 12 months with the support of the trained eco-guards. Monitoring focused on four key sites (the reserve’s catchment as well as three satellite marshes, Tolleu, Koree and Sapeul) and six AEWA species (Black-tailed Godwit, Lesser Flamingo, Eurasian Spoonbill, African Pygmy-Goose, Collared Pratincole, Kittlitz's Plover).
- One study on the reserve’s waterbird species and their habitats was carried out by two biology students of Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop University; a second research study on water level observations and characteristics of the reserve’s catchment was conducted by a lecturer and researcher of Gaston Berger University, St-Louis, Senegal.
- Six clean-up sessions were organized, during which abandoned fishing nets and other objects were collected manually, and invasive typha plants removed from Lac de Guiers. This activity opened passages for aquatic species such as manatees and fish, thereby improving the bio-ecological functioning of the lake.
- Equipment, such as binoculars, GPS devices, bicycles and bird identification guides, was provided to the reserve’s management committee, in order to strengthen monitoring activities.
- The boundaries of the reserve were reinforced by setting up ten new boundary markers; new sign-posts were also installed.
- An observation tower was erected and two observation stands set up.
- In order to raise awareness of waterbird conservation for key stakeholders in the reserve, five events were organized for five villages close to the RNC Tocc Tocc and a two-day guided tour of the reserve was organized for twelve members of Senegal’s National Assembly. Furthermore, an awareness-raising session was carried out to familiarize the reserve’s management committee with AEWA and its flyway conservation approach. A World Migratory Bird Day event was organized to take place in the nearby town of St.-Louis, in May 2014.
The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat congratulates the Directorate of National Parks, and all stakeholders involved, on the very successful completion of this project. We wish our project partner all the best in continuing to maintain the RNC Tocc Tocc as a haven for migratory waterbirds and other wildlife, with the active participation, and to the benefit of, local communities.
For more information on this project please contact Cpt. Abdou Salam Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org and Cpt. Ousseynou Niang at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the AEWA Small Grants Fund
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 €200,000. The next call for proposals will be launched in 2015.
For more information on the AEWA Small Grants Fund please visit the AEWA website.
By Birgit Drerup and Evelyn Moloko.