According to the 6th edition of the AEWA Conservation Status Report, nearly 75% of the population size estimates of the waterbird populations in the West Asian/East African flyway are based on ‘best guess’, the highest of all flyways. This is largely due to the fact that waterbird monitoring activities across that flyway are sporadic. In the absence of adequate monitoring, only a fraction of the internationally important sites are known and documented. Data at many known key sites are often outdated.
The West Asian/East African flyway is home to a number of globally threatened and near threatened species such as the Eurasian Curlew, Great Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Curlew Sandpiper, White-eyed Gull, Armenian Gull and others, and there is significant development pressure on the wetland habitats that support these species. To help conserve these threatened species, we urgently need much better data on population size, trends and key sites. To improve the understanding of the waterbird populations and their habitats in the flyway, Wetlands International is planning a large-scale co-ordinated survey along the coast of the Indian Ocean (including the Gulf and the Red Sea) in Africa, West Asia and Australia during the period of December 2016 and January 2017 (see the map at the end of this article).
Can you help?
The aim is to cover as many coastal wetlands as possible in all countries along the Indian Ocean coast of Africa and West Asia. We aim to cover primarily Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) and other wetlands likely to be important for coastal waterbirds. We expect through this to also identify new IBAs and potential Ramsar Sites. Besides counting the waterbirds, we would also aim to collect information on the status of the wetlands following the IBA monitoring methodology.
OSME are supporting this initiative and encourage those interested in helping with surveys to contact Wetlands International (the overall survey co-ordinator).
For further information contact
+31 628 554823
You can read more about this the West Asian/East African Flyway here
Countries covered by the upcoming surveys are highlighted in the following map (courtesy of Wetlands International):