wilderness site of the Tanbi Wetland Complex, in Gambia, (see
is located just on the southern entrance to the mouth of the
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:
Eighty 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), lagoons 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
Human encroachment & activities:
The main activities in and around the complex are shrimp
fishing, vegetable gardening and
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.
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, Pel’s fishing owl, African
Clawless otter, brown-necked parrot and the Western Red Colobus.
Climate change and global warming pose a particular threat to
in the wetlands as sea levels rise.
The number of
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: 13°26’N and 16°38’W.