Wageningen, 21 November 2008 - In a marked piece of land, surrounded by beautiful mangroves, the first signs of hard work on the new Wetlands Education Centre for the Dar Es Salaam Wetlands in Tanzania are already becoming visible. The establishment of this new education centre is being supported by the Wings Over Wetlands Project as one of the project’s twelve demonstration sites.
After some delay in securing a title deed and building permit for the site, the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST), has now begun with the construction of the education centre near the city of Dar Es Salaam, covering over 2800 m² of land.
The rapid unplanned urban development, with related water pollution and human activities such as burning of grasses and mangroves for salt pans preparation and the use of the mangrove area for grazing, is becoming a serious threat to the ecological values of the site.
Even though the construction of the Wetlands Education Centre (WEC) is still at an early stage, the WCST is already reporting a growing interest for nature and birds among the local communities and visitors to the site. For example, the WCST reports that the number of birdwatchers to the site has increased from 20 visitors in 2007 to 158 this year.
The new educational centre will help raise awareness among local communities and decision makers on the importance of wetlands and migratory waterbirds found in the area. To support this effort, the WOW Project Team at the WCST is also developing a series of educational films, which will be used to further underline the importance of wetlands to the livelihoods of local communities in Tanzania.
* This news has been brought to you by Renske den Exter from the WOW Project Coordination Unit, following the East Africa Exchange programme workshop held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania from 4 - 7 November 2008.
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