Water and its importance to migratory birds – and the increasing threats to both water quality and quantity is the focus of this year’s World Migratory Bird Day global celebration which is meant to raise awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.
As part of the celebration held on May 13, 2023, the West African Bird Study Association (WABSA) in partnership with the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM) joined the rest of the world to celebrate the day in a form of a daylong assessment along Tanji Bird Reserve and Nema Flat.
Speaking at the end of the assessment, Mr. Fagimba Camara head of the Research Unit at WABSA commended the Executive Director of the West African Bird Study Association (WABSA), Director, Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM), staff and volunteers of the above-mentioned institutions for their participation during the celebration.
“As Gambia recently confirmed an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu along the coastal Gambia, particularly around Tanji Bird Reserve, Gambian authorities are working to reduce the risk of infection and prevent transmission to poultry firms across the country,” said Mr. Camara.
According to Mr. Camara, World Migratory Bird Day serves as an international call to action for the protection of migratory birds, whose ranges often span multiple countries, and are facing many different threats worldwide. He added that an annual campaign is organized by WABSA to sensitize communities about the importance of protecting migratory birds.
He said water is fundamental to sustaining life on the planet, thus migratory birds rely on water and its associated habitats like lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, swamps, marshes, and coastal wetlands for breeding, resting, refuelling during migration, and wintering.
“News headlines around the world is sounding alarm that: 35 percent of the world’s wetlands, critical to migratory birds, have been lost in the last 50 years. Utah’s Great Salt Lake, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and used by more than a million shorebirds, is in danger of disappearing within five years,” Mr. Camara explained.