World Wetlands Day 2003: Eritrea



REPORT BY ; J.K. TIWARI Ecologist, Seawater Farms Eritrea

Participants : J.K. Tiwari, Shekhar Chaturvedi, Francisco Valenzuela, Haile Amanuel and all staff of the Seawater Farms Eritrea

We celebrated the World Wetlands Day today on 2 nd February 2003 at the Seawater Farms Eritrea. We have been actively involved in a lot of work not only for this day but for the whole year round. Our efforts are towards better wetland management for wealth generation , community development and habitat creation .. This was third year of our celebration of the World Wetlands Day at the Seawater Farms Eritrea. Our created Seawater Farms Wetlands (area 120 hectares) and the Mangrove forest area 50 hectares, Salicornia bigelovii a Seawater irrigated crop (area 100 hectares) were covered for the total bird count . We Saw 125 species of birds including the land birds, resident and migratory water birds. Our checklist for the SFE is 230 species. The Country's total checklist is 586 species of birds.

During our bird count the highlight was a huge concentration of a roost of the Wagtails (yellow and African Pied Wagtails numbering over 20, 000) . This huge population of Wagtails is using the trees in our created wetlands as night roost and the Salicornia fields and Mangrove areas as day foraging ground.

The other highlights were the Endemic White-eyed Gulls (55) and the Lesser Flamingo 125, the Pink-backed Pelicans 120 , the pelicans are resident at the SFE wetlands. Two pairs of Ospreys were seen at the Farm.

An exhibiton was organized at the Farms where all the educational materials supplied by the Ramsar Convention Bureau were put on display (see the picture). Mangrove plantation and seed sowing of the Avicennia marina plants were carried out at the Seawater Forest Initiative site (see the website see the picture.

Eritrea is having 1100 kms long coast line and about 10, 000 hectares of Mangrove forest. We at the Seawater Farms Eritrea and the Seawater Forests Initiative are actively engaged in regreening the coast and the mainlands using an abundant supply of Seawater and our plants are Halophytes. We have so far raised and planted over 500, 000 plants in our mainland nursery of the Mangroves. Our wetlands are now varitable heaven for the resident and migratory water birds.

The Ramsar Literature on wetlands is becoming popular among the people of Eritrea as it is available for reading at our SFE library.

Herons at the Seawater Farms Eritrea wetlands

World Wetlands Day 2003 exhibition at SFE

Endemic and Globally threatened White-eyed Gull at SFE

Mangrove seed sowing at the Seawater Forests Initiative

All pictures by J.K. Tiwari

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