This programme links two areas of highest importance for the birds migrating along the East Atlantic Flyway: the breeding grounds (Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug, Russia) and the key wintering grounds in West Africa (Djoudj / Diawling Complex).
Two exchange visits between representatives of these areas will be organized so that visiting participants and local hosts can share information about their wetland and waterbird projects, explore similarities and differences in the challenges they face, and identify best conservation and management practices that are effective across cultures.
The first visit – of the Nenets AO Delegation to Senegal – took place in February 2014.
The objectives of this visit were to:
-- Promote awareness amongst government officials of the migratory bird connection between Russia and Senegal and importance of a flyway approach for their joint management;
-- Learn about conditions for management of migratory birds and their habitats in Senegal, in particular the Senegal River Delta and Djoudj National Park;
-- Identify and evaluate opportunities for further cooperation and exchange between Nenetsky AO and Senegal River Delta, two internationally important sites for migratory waterbirds.
The Russian delegates took part in several meetings organized by the Wetlands International West Africa Office, visited the Department of National Parks in Dakar and the Djoudj National Park. This 16,000 ha Park was established in 1971 as a national bird sanctuary.
Since 1980, it has been listed as a Ramsar site, and since 1981, as a World Heritage site.
The Djoudj National Park protects a large wetland complex comprising of lakes, ponds, streams and backwaters, which form a sanctuary for three million migrating birds, many of which have just crossed the Sahara.
Of over 350 species of birds registered in the area, there are species that occur in the Nenets AO during the breeding season, including the Ruff, Shoveler, Teal and Pintail.
The delegation visited a few local villages and met with the members of villages’ association committee. The local Wolof people who have lived there for centuries through fishing, grazing and farming, retain their traditional lifestyle (like the indigenous people in the Nenets AO), and at the same time actively participate in the National Park’s educational and eco-tourism activities.
The representatives of the Nenets Museum of Natural History participated in the trip have published an article about their visit in the ‘Naryana Vynder’ newspaper and prepared a video film broadcast on TV by the ‘Sever’ Channel.
The next phase of the exchange programme – the return visit of the Senegalese delegation to the Nenets AO – is expected in June 2014!