Kenya names its third Ramsar site

Kenya names its third Ramsar site

6 September 2000
Kenya

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The Bureau is delighted to announce that Kenya has designated its third Wetland of International Importance (following Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha), as of 27 August 2001 -- Lake Bogoria (10,700 hectares, 00°15’N 036°05’E), a National Reserve in Rift Valley Province. An alkaline soda lake hydrologically dominated by hot springs, located in Gregory Eastern Rift Valley, the site provides critical refuge for the lesser flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor), with a population of 1 to 1.5 million, and has high biodiversity values for more than 300 waterbird species. The shoreline fringe and associated acacia woodland provide critical habitat for the endangered Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsciseros) and other mammals. The lake’s stable water level makes it doubly important during periods of drought which reduce levels in other East African lakes. Regional climate is arid to semi-arid with low rainfall reliability. Tugen and Jemps pastoralists live in the area, and livestock grazing is the main land use in the site, but tourism, attracted to the wildlife, hot springs, spectacular cliffs and escarpments, and the rich indigenous culture, brings 200,000 visitors annually; in addition, the geysers are thought by some to have medicinal value. Incidents of flamingo mortality, perhaps attributable to algal toxins or heavy metal concentrations, are puzzling and a cause of concern. A new management plan is in preparation and a visitors’ centre is in place. [12/10/01]