World Wetlands Day in Gambia
New Ramsar site named
Gambia designates major mangrove wetland
The Gambia's Department of Parks and Wildlife Management has seized the occasion of World Wetlands Day to designate the Tanbi Wetland Complex (6,304 hectares, 13°26'N 016°38'W) as its second Wetland of International Importance. The site comprises a low-altitude zone formed from the deposition of marine and fluvial sediments, which constitutes estuarine and intertidal forested wetlands, 80% of which is dominated by mangrove swamps with Rhizophora mangle, R. harrisoni, R. racemosa, Avicennia africana, Laguncularia racemosa, Annona glabra and West Indian Alder Conocarpus erectus being the main mangrove species found here. It captures incoming water and rainfall, thus playing an important role in shoreline stabilization, sediment and nutrient retention and export, ground water replenishment and flood control, thereby acting as a hydrological buffer zone.
This site harbours vulnerable species like the African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis), African Clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), and the Western Red Colobus (Piliocolobus badius temminckii). The shade of the mangroves provide an important breeding ground for the shrimp Panaeus notialis in the Western African Marine Eco-region. Activities carried out in this area include subsistence fishing and agriculture, oyster and mangrove harvesting and tourism. Exposure to negative influences such as rapid coastal erosion, industrialization and agriculture has been noted. The Integrated Coastal and Marine Biodiversity (ICAM) project, jointly implemented by the Government of Gambia, the World Bank and WWF, will update the existing management plan for this site as well as carry out sensitization and educational activities. Ramsar site no. 1657.