Fifth Site for Senegal

Fifth Site for Senegal

30 January 2014
Senegal

Senegal has designated the Réserve Naturelle Communautaire de Tocc Tocc (273 ha, 16°20'38''N 15°50'13''W) as a Ramsar Site. As summarised by Ramsar’s Dede Amah, this site is a permanent coastal freshwater lake which provides a habitat for spawning, nursery and feeding for over 98 fish species including the Bagrid and Eel Catfish (Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus and Clarias anguillaris) and the Guinean tilapia (Tilapia guineensis), which are species of high nutritional and commercial value to the local communities. The site serves as home for a large colony of water birds including the White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), and also the freshwater Adanson's mud turtle (Pelusios adansonii) and the iconic and vulnerable West African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis),which was  recently listed on CITES Appendix I.

As well as acting as a reservoir of biodiversity, the site supports the hydrological balance of the Senegal River basin and provides services including groundwater recharge and flood control, and also desalination of brackish water for agricultural purposes. It is also a source of livelihoods for resident populations, which engage mainly in artisanal fisheries and harvesting of forest products such as Cyperus articulatus, a sedge species used as a base in the perfume industry. The main threats facing the site are overfishing and the uncontrolled abstraction of the water; a local management committee has been established to monitor these activities.