The Annotated Ramsar List: Mauritania

08/09/2009

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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

MAURITANIA / MAURITANIE

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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Mauritania on 22 February 1983. Mauritania presently has 4 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 1,240,600 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Banc d’Arguin.22/10/82; 1,200,000 ha; 20º50’N 016º45’W. World Heritage Site; National Park. On the western fringe of the Sahara, the Banc d’Arguin accounts for more than one third of the country’s entire coastline and as one of the richest fishing grounds in the world, owing to the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich waters. The wetlands are composed of extensive, shallow marine areas, scattered islands, intertidal sand banks, mudflats, channels, creeks and relict mangrove forest. Mudflats support vast beds of seagrass housing a rich invertebrate fauna (especially molluscs and crustaceans) and are important high-tide feeding or nursery areas for commercially-important deep sea fish. Large flocks of shorebirds forage at low tide and over two million winter here. Other notable fauna include a variety of marine mammals, marine turtles, and an endangered seal species. Ramsar site no. 250. Most recent RIS information: 1999.

Chat Tboul. 10/11/00; Keur-Masséne; 15,500 ha; 16°33’N 16°24’W. Chat Tboul lies along the Atlantic coast, immediately north of the Parc National du Diawling Ramsar site, around a former mouth of the Senegal river. Behind a ca.10km strip of coastal dunes, in some areas with a cover of Sahelian-type vegetation, the site includes a number of wetland types, from both permanent and temporary brackish and saline lakes and pools, estuarine waters, intertidal mud/sand flats and forested wetlands, sandy shores, and intertidal marshes. The site qualifies under the uniqueness and biodiversity Criteria, as well as under the 1% threshold for waterbirds (6) -- with several species (including Pelecanus onocrotalus, Phoenicopterus ruber, Larus genei, and Recurvirostra avosetta) meeting that standard -- and under Criterion 8 on importance for fish stocks. A number of small-scale traditional fishing and transhumant grazing practices are seen in the area, which also receives an annual allotment of fresh water under the management plan of the Diawling Park. Possible threats are foreseen from a proposal concerning evacuation of agricultural run-off from rice fields and from overexploitation of coastal fish stocks, as well as from the spread of shrimp and lobster farming. Ramsar site no. 1044. Most recent RIS information: 2000.

Lac Gabou et le réseau hydrographique du Plateau du Tagant. 13/02/09; Tagant; 9,500 ha; 17°56’N 011°52’W. Composed of a network of rivers that flow from the mountainous region at the limit of the Sahel and Sahara to form Lac Gabou, with several temporary lagoons and ponds as well as freshwater springs and oases. The presence of this water resource is important as it supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, largely indigenous to the region and of global conservation concern. Of particular note are Phoenix dactylifera and Hyphaene thebaica, two species of palms that are of great economic value, and L’Adansonia digitata and l’Adenium obesum, baobabs found typically in the Sahelian savanna. During periods of adverse conditions, Crocodylus niloticus suchus find refuge at the site;they are known to bury themselves in the muddy pools and trenches until the rainy season begins. Flights of migratory white storks (Ciconia ciconia) and black storks (Ciconia nigra) have been sighted in the area, proving that it is an important flyway for various migratory waterbirds. The main threats occur as a result of limited resources leading to overexploitation and continued desertification typical of the Sahel. Ramsar site no. 1854. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Parc National du Diawling. 23/08/94; Nouakchott; 15,600 ha; 16º22’N 016º23’W. National Park. Added to the Montreux Record, 28/02/02. A saline floodplain in the lower delta of the Senegal River dotted with marsh-pools and sand dunes. The site includes three coastal lagoons and an estuarine zone of mangroves providing feeding grounds for fish, shrimp, and prawns. Numerous bird species have been recorded: cormorants, storks, spoonbills, egrets, Ardeidae (herons, bitterns, etc.), and African and European Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans, etc.) and waders. Mammals include warthogs, jackals and patas monkeys. The last gazelles have disappeared recently. Human activities include controlled traditional exploitation (gathering, harvesting, fishing, grazing). Infestations of Salvinia molesta and Typha australis led to a Ramsar Advisory Mission in 2001 and listing in the Montreux Record in 2002. Removed from the Montreux Record, 8 September 2009. Ramsar site no. 666. Most recent RIS information: 1994.

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