World Wetlands Day 2003: Pakistan

06/02/2003

World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan
Tel: 042 - 5862360/5869429
Fax: 042-5862358
URL: www.wwfpak.org.pk

Press Release
______________________________________________
Date: 31 January 2003 Time: 10:00 AM Embargo: 2 February, 2003

WWF - Pakistan announces 3 New Wetlands Sites

Each year on 2nd February, World Wetlands Day is celebrated around the world to educate the masses in the growing concern over depletion of wetlands. In context of the celebration of 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater by UN, Pakistan has identified three new wetlands sites of international importance. The three new added wetlands sites are Indus Delta (472,800 ha), Rann of Kutch (566,375 ha) and Deh Akro (20,500 ha) situated in the province of Sindh. These sites gain importance due to their unique biodiversity and habitat provision to a variety of species. Pakistan now has a total of 19 Ramsar sites.

World Wetlands Day marks the signing of the convention of wetlands on 2nd February 1997, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The convention came into effect in 1975 and Pakistan became one its earliest signatories.

Wetlands of Pakistan include flood plain wetlands of major river systems and their extensive network of tributaries; saline and temporary wetlands of arid and semi arid expanses inland; coastal system such as lagoons, backwaters and estuaries; mangrove swamps; marine wetlands; and coral associated with Astola Island in Balochistan.

The new identified sites provide sanctuary to 40 different species of migratory birds during the winter season. Besides providing habitat to the waterfowl, the wetlands also help in maintaining genetic and ecological biodiversity in the region.

The Indus Delta houses the largest mangrove forest of arid climate in the world. It supports more than 60,000 species of waterfowl along with a significant population of fish. Rann of Kutch is a true desert habitat, supporting globally threatened wildlife and plant population. The recently identified site, Deh Akro-II is considered globally important, because it is a unique representative of a natural inland wetland ecosystem of 36 lakes and a desert habitat, supporting a variety of flora and fauna species.

WWF - Pakistan will celebrate the World Wetlands Day with full vigour and awareness raising campaigns from its Wetland Centre, Karachi. This year the Centre will hold presentation and a display exhibition to mark the significance of newly identified wetland sites.

In addition, WWF - Pakistan in collaboration with the local community based organizations of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Mallah Tanzeem and the City Government, Hyderabad, will organise an interschool tableau competition at the banks of River Indus.

· Available for interview on this subject: Rahat Jabeen, Wetlands Conservation Officer, WWF - Pakistan, fortune Centre, Block 6, PECHS, Shahra-i-Faisal, Karcahi,75400.Tel: 92 021 4544791-92, E mail: wwfkhi@khi.compol.com
· For further information and comment: Dr Ejaz Ahmad, Deputy Director General, WWF - Pakistan, fortune Centre, Block 6, PECHS, Shahra-i-Faisal, Karcahi,75400.Tel: 92 021 4544791-92, E mail: wwfkhi@khi.compol.com

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