The annual count of waterbirds began Friday, January 15, 2016 throughout the Senegal national territory. Wetlands International Africa spearheaded the launch of the census with staff of the Community Protected Marine Areas Department (DAMPC), National Parks Department of Senegal (DPN) and other environmental protection organizations on the Technopole’s site, which is considered as the only green lung of Senegal’s capital city, Dakar.
Safe haven per excellence and natural habitat for hundreds of water birds in the Senegalese capital city, the Technopole site in Dakar that was chosen this January 15, 2016 by the team of Wetlands International Africa to support a mix staff team of the Community Protected Marine Areas Department (DAMPC), National Parks Department (DPN) and the NGO Nature Communities Development (NCD) for the annual count of water birds this year. A count occurs in 2016 that marks the 50th anniversary of International Waterbirds Census that started in 1967. This fiftieth anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year by Wetlands International. Thus, a series of activities is planned and prizes will be awarded to reward individuals and organizations that have been most distinguished for the conservation of waterbirds.
The census is undertaken in January/February worldwide which is considered a time when Eurasian migrants have completed their migration into Africa and less likely to move between wetlands. The census has three major objectives. 1. To obtain information on an annual basis of waterbird populations at wetlands in the region during non-breeding period of most species (January), as a basis for evaluation of sites and monitoring of populations, 2. to monitor on an annual basis the status and condition of wetlands and 3. to encourage greater interest in waterbirds and wetlands amongst people, and thereby promote the conservation of wetlands and waterbirds in the region.
From 7’20 to 14.00, Wetlands International teams and partners visited successive counting units 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Technopole site in Pikine in the suburbs of Dakar and the catchment area in Grand-Yoff in the suburbs of Dakar to have an idea of the number of individuals and species present.
A total of 20 species were identified. Among these waterbirds include: Herons, Cattle egret, little egrets and intermediate Egret, Terns, Black lapwings, Pelicans, Black-tailed Godwits, Gulls and Cormorants.
The census also started in other major sites in the country including as in the Senegal River Delta (north), Saloum Delta (in the Central West), in Casamance (south), and the Petite Côte (South of Dakar).
The counts of Djoudj national park and the Senegal River Delta generally hit yearly records of 3 million birds of a large diversity of species.
Data from of these counts will be published in a few weeks.
Pape Diomaye Thiaré