Huge success on the first International Waterbid Census in Kuwait
Gareth, James, Robbie and Marie, supported by Kane from WWT’s Species Conservation department and some volunteers, have just conducted the first coordinated count in Kuwait for the International Waterbird Census (IWC) run by Wetlands International. Over the same weekend in January, over 100 countries coordinate counts of wetlands to gain a global population estimate of waterbirds using them.
This count formed part of the project we have been working on with Kuwait’s Public Authority for Agriculture & Fish Resources (PAAFR) under the UN-funded Kuwait Environmental Remediation Programme (KERP) to establish a long-term waterbird monitoring programme for Jahra Reserve and Sulaibikhat Bay Marine Protected Area on Kuwait Bay. The total number of waterbirds counted just in these two areas of Kuwait Bay was more than 66,000 – a figure that is set to increase during Spring migration in March/April and that would qualify the wetland to be classed as of International Importance by Ramsar criteria. Further analysis of the data is set to reveal significance for certain individual species too. Watch this space for further updates on the project.
On Monday 19th January, after the count, the team presented at a public relations seminar – the first steps in raising awareness in Kuwait of the value of these wetlands for wildlife. By coincidence, the local newspaper has reported on a voluntary beach clean up effort, yielding 2 tonnes of rubbish (mostly plastic) from just 400m stretch of beach. We are hoping to capitalise on this interest in environmental stewardship and raise awareness of our impact on these valuable and fragile ecosystems. It’s a very exciting time for conservation in Kuwait.