More than 3 million hectares of Wetland habitats protected in Congo

Gland, Switzerland/09 October 2012 – With WWF’s support, more than three million hectares have been protected under the “Ramsar Convention” on Wetlands in the Republic of Congo.  With the three newly designated sites – Odzala Kokoua (1,300,000 ha, West Basin Division), Ntokou Pikounda (427,200 ha, Sangha Basin Division) and Vallée du Niari (1,581,000 ha, South of the Republic of Congo) – Congo now counts 10 Wetlands of International Importance, totalling 11.7 million hectares.

Western Lowland Gorilla at the Bronx Zoo

Western Lowland Gorilla at the Bronx Zoo © Wikipedia / Fred Hsu

Both, endangered species and surrounding communities, will benefit from this decision. The new sites are rich with biodiversity and they host several IUCN Red-Listed species such as hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes troglodytes). Also, marshes, ponds, lakes and flooded forests of the designated sites are a part of the migration routes of more than 200 bird species. Moreover, the abundance of many fish species supports the livelihoods of surrounding communities in the form of nutrition and income. Tourism opportunities are also expected to rise.

“During the last meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the 193 member nations set a target to protect at least 17 per cent of their terrestrial and inland water ecosystems by 2020. This move by the Republic of Congo demonstrates how protecting wetlands through Ramsar can help countries meet their commitments,” said Anada Tiega, Secretary General of the International Convention on Wetlands.

Source: WWF