Mauritania names 4th Ramsar site

Mauritania names 4th Ramsar site

4 March 2009
Mauritania

The government of Mauritania has added its fourth site to the List of Wetlands of International Importance, Lac Gabou et le réseau hydrographique du Plateau du Tagant (9,500 hectares, 17°56'N 011°52'W). As summarized by Ramsar’s Cynthia Kibata from the Ramsar Information Sheet, the new site is 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.