Bird watchers during the International Waterbird Census © ONCFS 2017
Guest article by Tour du Valat
Bonn, 21 February 2017 - From 15 to 20 January 2017, the Technical Support Unit (TSU) for the AEWA African Initiative along with the Directorate for Wildlife Conservation and Protected Areas of Chad (DCFAP), Zakouma National Park and with the support of a volunteer ornithologist from the Tour du Valat have jointly carried out the first waterbird census at the Bahr Aouk and Salamat floodplains Ramsar Site - see the location map. Situated in the south of Chad, the vast complex of floodplains, rivers and ponds of some 5,000,000 hectares is one of the largest Ramsar Sites in the world.
This mission was carried out within the framework of the wetland project RESSOURCE – ZH, which is being co-funded by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). It was done in response to the requirements of the Ramsar Convention and more especially those of the AEWA Plan of Action for Africa. The goal was to evaluate the importance of this Ramsar Site for migratory waterbirds in particular. The wetland complexes of the Zakouma National Park and Lake Iro, both found within the site, are of great heritage significance, with each hosting approximately 50,000 migratory waterbirds.
With the assistance of the NGO, African parks, and thanks to the financial support from Wetlands International and the Swedish Government, it proved possible to undertake a five-day aerial survey along 3,000 kilometres of transects, thereby permitting a systematic sampling of the entire Ramsar Site.
At the same time, a ten-day training session was held on identification of species and methods of carrying out counts, using the CD “Identification and Counting in Africa”. The six participants from DCFAP were therefore able to participate actively in the waterbird counts at several wetlands in the Zakouma National Park.
Last updated on 09 May 2017