World’s first Ramsar Site turns 40
On 8 May 1974, Australia designated Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory as the world’s first Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The Cobourg Peninsula, a remote and unspoilt wilderness area on the far northern coast of Australia, was recognized for its diversity of wetland habitats, threatened marine species, significant seabird colonies and value as a refuge and breeding site. It also has a fascinating Indigenous, Macassan and European history.
|Wetlands of Cobourg Peninsula. Photo: Michelle McAulay|
Cobourg Peninsula, now known as Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, is jointly managed by the Arrarrkbi people and the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory. It was the first reserve in Australia to have a formal joint management arrangement established with Indigenous people.
Australia currently has 65 Ramsar Sites across the continent, with an area of 8.3 million hectares, covering coral reefs, coastal lagoons, mangroves, inland rivers, mountain peat bogs and underground caves.
|Video message by Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands|