Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 40/1-4 | 2003 | 228-240

  The conservation status of Eastern Mauritania’s ephemeral wetlands and their role in the migration and wintering of Black Storks (Ciconia nigra).
Shine, T.

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Article summary

Research carried out on the ephemeral wetlands of eastern Mauritania since September 1999 sheds new light on the dynamic yet critical role that these wetlands play in the life history of Palearctic migrants. A wide range of data has been collected on the ecology of these temporary waterbodies to give a better understanding of their environmental and economic functions. Aerial and terrestrial counts of waterbirds from 1999 to 2002 indicate the importance of these wetlands for Black Storks. Information from the field complements remote satellite tracking of Black Storks from Europe to their wintering grounds in West Africa. This helps to rationalize the motives for stop-overs by the Storks in seemingly arid, inhospitable locations. Preliminary efforts have been made to inventory and cjassify the ephemeral wetlands of eastern Mauritania by the author in collaboration with project GIRNEM of the german technical co-operation (GTZ). The ensemble of wetlands unprotected and 3 sites have been proposed as Ramsar sites. Human population growth, sedentarisation and national food security policies are increasingly putting pressure on wetlands; islands of productivity in an otherwise arid land. The lack of a national wetlands strategy and the autonomous approach takem by development projects in developing wetland resources, increases the risk of damaginf a fragile ecosystem. With so much effort being put into the conservation of Black Storks in their breeding grounds, it seems controversial that there is so little information on their status in their wintering grounds.

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