The government of Tunisia has marked the 90th birthday of Dr Luc Hoffmann, one of the "Founding Fathers" of the Ramsar Convention and co-founder of WWF, by designating an important new Wetland of International Importance, the Complexe Lac de Tunis (2,243 hectares, 36°49'N 010°14'E), effective 23 January. As described by Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Africa, Ms Ako Charlotte Eyong, based on the Ramsar Information Sheet, the new site is a coastal brackish lagoon surrounded by intertidal marshes, in close proximity to the city of Tunis. As a central wetland in the Gulf of Tunis, the site receives sea and inland water from surrounding salt flats. It is a good nesting ground for several waterbirds and wintering ground for migrating species such as the Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) and the Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), as well as over 6% of the wintering population of Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) in the West Palearctic biogeographic realm.
It has a seasonal algal cover and supports over 138 species of aquatic fauna. Mammalian fauna include rodents and several bat species, and it is an important source of food, spawning ground, and nursery for several fish species. The main human activity carried out is fishing, regulated following the protected status of the adjacent Chikly nature reserve.
Tunisia presently has 38 Ramsar Sites covering 828,285 hectares, and two more are waiting to be added to the List in the coming days.
The Secretariat has been asked to include this statement in this announcement: "The Tunisian Government and WWF Tunisia dedicate this designation to Dr. Luc Hoffmann, one of the founders of the Ramsar Convention and co-founder of WWF, on the occasion of his 90th birthday for his immense contribution towards wetlands and nature conservation. Happy Birthday to you, Dr Luc Hoffmann." A joint press release from WWF Tunisia and the Direction Générale des Forêts can be seen here.