A local community protects breeding birds in Egypt’s Fayoum Wildlife Sanctuaries

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The Egyptian province of Fayoum is known throughout the country for its waterfalls, large lakes and nature reserves.

They are particularly popular with birdwatchers, who visit the area to observe thousands arriving from Europe and Asia to nest during the colder months.

Flamingos, cormorants, gray herons, spoonbills and many ducks are among the species that come to nest in Egypt each September.

They stay in the country through winter and spring, heading north when summer comes.

But poachers remain a problem. Ahmed Mansour, an experienced environmental tour guide, says the threat persists, despite the constant presence of Ministry of Environment staff in all nature reserves.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE DAY

The Red List of Threatened Species, overseen by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, records more than 8,400 critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

It is their plight that World Wildlife Day, celebrated on March 3, hopes to highlight.

In 2018, 14 bird species were threatened in Egypt.

Mr Mansour said that is why the public is such a powerful weapon against poachers.

“The locals are by far the most active poaching fighters in the region. They immediately report any incident they see to the authorities,” he said.

“What you have to understand is that nature reserves are the backbone of the local economy. They attract tourists, which in turn stimulate local businesses. Poachers are a threat to this and locals know it.

Two of the most important birdwatching hotspots in Fayoum are the salt lake Qarun, a prehistoric body of water that attracts thousands of tourists every year, and Wadi Rayan, a national park that is home to two other popular man-made lakes. ornithologists.

Lake Qarun is an internationally designated Important Bird Area and Wadi El Rayan is a registered reserve where up to 150 species of birds flock during the winter and spring seasons, Mr Mansour said.

Both areas are managed by the country’s environment ministry.

To promote environmental tourism in the region, the ministry has banned bird hunting in Fayoum nature reserves, he said.

Updated: March 03, 2022, 03:00

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