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Tanbi Wetland Complex
 

Introduction:      
Tanbi mangrovesThe wilderness site of the Tanbi Wetland Complex, in Gambia, (see Map) is located just on the southern entrance to the mouth of the River Gambia. It covers a total area of about  6,000 hectares (of which mangroves make up 4,800 hectares) and its widest expanse is located to the west and south west of Banjul.  Tanbi's northern most point skirts the (Bund) Kankujeri Road of Banjul and also includes Cape Creek. It encompasses the fringes of the island of St. Mary at its Atlantic Ocean side and down south east towards Lamin and Mandinari Village. It was declared a Ramsar site in February, 2007. This is an international convention for the preservation of wetlands and its natural resources.

Flora & Ecosystem:
Oyster pickingEighty per cent of the Tanbi Wetland Complex is composed of forest wilderness is made up of several species of mangroves which includes the Avicennia africana, Alder Conocarpus, Laguncularia racemosa, Annona glabra and the Rhizophora with the occasional Baobab or rhun palm standing on more solid earth. Vegetation gradually changes to bare flats, salt marsh,  and dry woodland or grass woodland to the west and south, with agricultural uses in the bordering zones.  The natural vegetation is  laced in a patchwork of tidal creeks (bolongs), lagoonsAerial view of wetlands and estuarial saline mudflats. It plays a key role in water retention of the area as it acts like a giant natural sponge for rainwater and tidal river flows as well as to stabilise the shoreline.

Human encroachment & activities:
The main activities in and around the complex are shrimp fishing, vegetable gardening and rice growing. During the dry season, a small number of Jola women collect, roast and sell oysters harvested from the mangroves located on the site.  Firewood is also collected from the area making it possible for these women to burn the oysters as well as to cook their meals.

There are also industrial warehouses and tourist fishing boats offering trips along the Oyster Creek from Denton Bridge, down south to the Daranka Bolong,  and out towards the estuary and Lamin Lodge at the Daranka Channel.

Fauna:
Among the animals to be found on the site are small monkeys, crocodiles, lizards as well as threatened or endangered species associated with mangrove swamps. These are the West African manatee, Pels fishing owl, African Clawless otter, brown-necked parrot  and the Western Red Colobus. Climate change and global warming pose a particular threat to wildlife in the wetlands as sea levels rise.

Avifauna:
The number of bird species so far recorded on the site is just over 360. Among the birdlife are the Grey-headed Gull, Ospreys, Western Reef-egret, Sacred Ibis, Malachite Kingfishers, Black-tailed Godwit, Blue-bellied Roller, Caspian Tern, Pigmy Sunbird, Red-necked Falcon, Rufous Crowned Roller,  pelicans and storks.  


Geographical coordinates: 1326N and 1638W.

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