Ramsar Sites in Uganda: Uganda boasts not only marshes and swamps in abundance but also forest reserves, national parks, waterfalls

Ramsar Sites in Uganda

Ramsar Sites in Uganda: Uganda boasts not only marshes and swamps in abundance but also forest reserves, national parks, waterfalls, and wildlife reserves. As per the Ramsar Convention, the majority of these have been designated as Wetlands of International Significance. Because these wetlands provide vital habitat for a variety of threatened and endangered aquatic flora and animals, Bird-life International, a global alliance of conservation organisations and the world leader in bird conservation, has named these wetlands as Important Birding Areas. Six of the Ramsar wetlands are in the Lake Victoria region and northeastern/eastern Uganda, with the remaining two being situated in national parks.

Here are some of the most popular Ramsar sites in Uganda’s National Parks:

The Nakivale Wetland System in Lake Mburo National Park

Nakivale Wetland, which is part of Lake Mburo National Park, is a network of five lakes, the largest of which is Lake Mburo, as well as an open and forested savanna, both seasonal and permanent. With a high degree of biodiversity, the system is a unique environment situated at the meeting point of two ecological zones. 22 species of migratory birds from the Afrotropics and Palaearctic inhabit the marsh during inclement weather. The globally threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler and Shoebill can be found there. Additionally, it serves as home to two threatened cichlid fish species that were eradicated from the larger lakes.
For the local aboriginal population, the Important Birding Area holds significant socioeconomic significance. In addition to providing water for household needs. This wetland system is among ramsar sites in Uganda.

Albertine Delta wetland system in Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is home to the Albert Delta Wetland System. From the top of Murchison Falls to the delta where it meets Lake Albert, there is a wetland system. It has a shallow area that is significant to many aquatic bird species, such as the prehistoric-looking shoebill Storks, Darters, and Herons among others. In Lake Albert, the wetland is also an excellent place for native fish species to nest and spawn. It’s interesting to note that the region acts as a feeding and watering spot for several wildlife species throughout the dry season.

Ramsar sites around Lake Victoria in Uganda

Lutembe Bay Wetland System

An island made of C. papyrus virtually isolates this shallow location, which is at the opening of Murchison Bay in Lake Victoria, from the rest of the body of water. In addition to approximately 100 butterfly species, including three rare ones, the wetland is home to endangered cichlid fish and bird species that are threatened worldwide. In addition to being home to a huge population of White-winged Black Terns, it serves as a breeding site for lungfish and Clarias.
In addition, the swamps surrounding Murchison Bay serve as natural filters for silt, sediments, and excess nutrients in surface runoff, industrial effluent, and Kampala City sewage, contributing to the importance of the Lutembe Bay wetland system hydrologically.

Mabamba Wetlands

Expanding towards the main body of Lake Victoria, the Mabamba Bay Wetland is a long, narrow bay surrounded by papyrus. Mabamba is the only wetland close to Kampala where it is easy to find the globally threatened Shoebill, and it is located northeast of Entebbe. It also belongs to a system of wetlands that sustains a large number of bird species, including the globally threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler and about 38% of the world’s population of Blue Swallows.
In addition, the location supplies fish for both personal and commercial use and encourages profitable fishing operations. Along with water for home and animal use, building supplies, and raw materials for regional crafts.

Shoebill Stork at Mabamba wetlands


Ramsar Sites in Eastern Uganda

Lake Opeta Wetland System

Uganda’s Lake Opeta is home to a sizable wetland ecosystem and is among ramsar sites in Uganda. The Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve sits to the south of the lake. Additionally, it provides a dry-season haven for domestic Pokot and Karamojong livestock as well as park fauna. The lake is in eastern Uganda, as are the adjacent marshes. The wetland system is located on a sizable floodplain between the Lake Bisina Ramsar Site and the easternmost portion of the Lake Kyoga basin. The wide, arid Karamoja region, which spans along Uganda’s eastern side between Mount Elgon and Sudan, ends at the southern end of the Lake Opeta marshes.
One of Uganda’s 33 Important Bird Areas, the Lake Opeta Wetland System has been on the Ramsar list since 2006. The Ramsar site is 68,913 hectares and is located 1,050 metres above sea level. More than 160 bird species can be found there, including the elusive Shoebill Stork and Fox’s Weaver, the only endemic bird species in Uganda.

Lake Bisina Wetland System

Located in eastern Uganda, Lake Bisina is among ramsar sites in Uganda and is a freshwater lake. It is a component of the Wetland Lakes System and is located across Lake Opeta, between two primarily arid regions. Situated on the Kumi-Soroti high road, the marsh is around 15 kilometres away from Kumi District. In addition to providing a steady supply of fresh water for the local community, Lake Bisina is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. On September 15, 2006, the wetland received the designation of Ramsar World Heritage Site.

Surrounded by a swamp, Lake Bisina is a narrow, shallow body of water that is home to numerous endemic bird species. The Lesser and African Jacana, Pygmy Goose, Fox’s Weaver, White-winged Warbler, Shoebill, and White-backed Duck are a few of these bird species. Though they are infrequently sighted, the swamp is also home to wild creatures like hippos and Nile crocodiles. The marsh is also home to a variety of fish species, including lungfish, mudfish, tilapia, and catfish.

Fox’s Weaver

Lake Nakuwa Wetland System

This permanent wetland is located in the Kaliro area of Eastern Uganda and is linked to several satellite lakes and a swamp system. It is among the ramsar sites in Uganda. With patches of floating papyrus dotted throughout, thick papyrus predominates. The most varied variety of cichlid species can be found in the system and its satellite lakes. Many species other than cichlids that are extinct from the huge lakes of Kyoga and Victoria find refuge there as well. Fish species that have been declared extinct in the nation’s major lakes are given sanctuary by the system. Because the lakes’ surrounding aquatic vegetation has acted as a barrier, the Nile perch has not been able to expand. In addition, the wetland aids in groundwater replenishment, water filtration, and flood management.

The Lake Nakuwa Wetland system is perhaps one of Uganda’s last intact wetland ecosystems because of its isolation and low population in the immediate watershed. It also employs a lot of fishermen.

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