Cameroon designates Sangha River site

Cameroon designates Sangha River site

30 January 2008

Cameroon's third Wetland of International Importance

Cameroon's third Ramsar, designated for World Wetlands Day 2008, is the Partie camerounaise du fleuve Sangha (6,200 hectares, 01°50'N 016°02'E), part of the Lobéké National Park, located in the southeast of Cameroon and bordering the Dzanga-Sangha National Park of Central African Republic (CAR) and Nouabale-Ndoke in the Republic of Congo. This designation, which is in preparation for the CongoWet initiative, was assisted by the Ramsar Swiss Grant for Africa. Ramsar's Evelyn Parh Moloko provides further details, based on the Ramsar Information Sheet that accompanied the designation --

River Sangha is a tributary of the Congo, has its source in Cameroon and flows across CAR and Congo, and is surrounded by equatorial humid forest of great ecological value to all three countries. The site comprises the Sangha River, its tributaries, submerged land masses, and woody marshlands, raphia forests and grasslands. Its remoteness from major cities, combined with the rich flora and fauna, precious wood species, and mineral resources, make it a target resource base for the surrounding population (as a freshwater reserve, source of fish and other freshwater resources) and a haven for rare plant and animal species.

It is noted for its historic significance in the culture of Baka Pygmies, whose existence was greatly associated to the forest. High densities of plants of the Marantaceae family favor the presence of the vulnerable Elephant and Gorilla. It is also a home to the endangered endemic Bates's Weaver and vulnerable Black Colobus amongst others.

The site will benefit from the management plans proposed for the nearby Dja and Boumba-Bek and Nki reserves, the latter being presently managed under a GEF project with the intervention of the government of Cameroon, WWF and GTZ and aimed at biodiversity conservation through integrated conservation and development activities. Unrestrained exploitation of resources is seen as a potential threat. Ramsar site no. 1739. Most recent RIS information: 2008.