'Special status' bid for park
A pair of Greater Flamingos cruise the Black River near Rondebosch. Cape Town - Cape Town is applying to have parts of its False Bay Ecology Park declared a Ramsar Site, or wetland of international importance. The hoped-for designation will be made under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands that came into force for South Africa on December 21, 1975, and will help protect the park that is centred on the water bodies of Zeekoevlei, Rondevlei and the Cape Flats Waste Water Treatment Works (or Strandfontein sewerage works, as they’re also known).
At least 45 water bird species breed here, and the park is considered the fifth most important IBA for wetland birds, supporting more birds in numbers and species than Lake St Lucia, which is some 350 times bigger. The decision to apply for Ramsar status was taken by the City at last week’s monthly council meeting, with councillors agreeing that advantages would include increased tourism and local economic development, and increased funding opportunities for wetland protection.
There are currently 168 contracting parties to the convention, named for the Iranian city of Ramsar on the bird-rich shores of the Caspian Sea where the convention was adopted in February, 1971. BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Some of the birds in a flock of Greater Flamingos on the Black River near the Rondebosch golf course.
Its official name is “The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat” but it is popularly known simply as the Ramsar Convention. South Africa currently has 21 designated Ramsar sites, with a total surface area of 554 136ha.
Just five of these are in the Western Cape: the De Hoop Vlei near Bredasdorp; De Mond (Heuningnes Estuary) near Struisbaai; Langebaan Lagoon; Verlorenvlei at Elands Bay on the West Coast; and the Wilderness Lakes. Evaporation ponds and pans at well-managed sewerage treatment works are providing increasingly valuable habitat for many birds as natural areas are swallowed up by urban development.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at The Independent on Saturday