Nature Conservation Sector concerned with the conservation of birds and their habitats, is working to identify and document sites of global importance for birds around the world.These sites are called Important Bird Areas or IBAs and are selected according to internationally defined criteria.
To qualify as IBAs sites must have:
Birds have proven to be excellent indicators of biodiversity and effective flagships for conservation, because they are relatively well known and can carry poplar support.
The Directory of IBAs in Egypt identifies 34 sites as IBAs in the country. Egypt's IBAs comprise wide range of habitats critical for birds, including: wetlands, high altitude mountains, desert wadis, coastal plains and marine islands.
Fifteen of Egypt's IBAs are in existing Protected Areas. Five further IBAs have been proposed for protection. However, not all IBAs can become Protected Areas .Bird conservation needs at sites such as Suez and Ain Sukhna can only be addressed through conscientious planning and management.
The Directory of IBAs in Egypt Provides decision makers and planners with a practical tool that can aid in setting conservation priorities and environmental management.
Birds are one of the most prominent and visible components of Egypt's biodiversity. The country is blessed with a wide range of habitats each with its own unique bird life.
As the only land bridge between Eurasia and Africa, Egypt represents one of the most important migration routes in the world, with hundreds of millions of birds passing through the country every spring and autumn. Many birds over winter in Egyptian wetlands, making them internationally important wintering grounds for water birds. A total of 16 globally threatened species occur in the country, seven of which Egypt has particular importance.
Egypt has benefited from its bird life since ancient times.The country is vital for many species of birds and shares a global responsibility to conserve them.
IBAs are not only important for birds, but are often areas supporting high biodiversity, where rare and endangered species of plants and animals exist.
Thus, the maintenance of these sites contributes in a significant way towards fulfilling national and global obligations to conserve nature.
IBAs often encompass sites with outstanding natural resources and important ecological functions, which contribute to the well -being prosperity and future of the nation. Examples of this are Lake Nasser, the main fresh water reservoir for Egypt and Lake Manzala, one of the country's most important fisheries.
Nature- based tourism, including bird watching tourism is an economic activity that has notably increased in Egypt in the past few years. This activity is takes place at sites identified as IBAs, such as St.Katherine, the Red Sea Islands and Zaranik in North Sinai, and highlights the need to "protect those natural resources that attract the tourists".
As elsewhere around the world, IBAs in Egypt face a variety of threats, at the forefront:
Excessive, unregulated development is one of the greatest threats to IBAs. Critical natural habitats are being degraded and destroyed by land reclamation, overgrazing, unsustainable tourism and haphazard quarrying.
Many of Egypt's wetlands suffer from pollution, particularly in the Delta.
Oil pollution, particularly in the Delta .Oil pollution is a potential threat in the marine environment, with seabird colonies most at risk. Uncontrolled solid waste dumping is likewise a threat to wildlife and their habitats.
Over Exploitation of Resources:
Unregulated hunting is widespread in Egypt. One to two million birds are netted, trapped and shot every autumn along the Egyptian Mediterranean coast, including globally threatened species like the Corncrake .
An IBAs program is under development for the lasting conservation and sustainable management of Egyp's IBAs that includes:
Reference: Bird life International Organization In Egypt
Env Impact Assessment
Fund and Support
Complaint and Inquiry
Reports and Publications
Ministry of Environment
Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency
30 Misr Helwan El-Zyrae Road, Maadi,
Phone: (202) 25256452
Fax: (202) 25256490