France's newest Ramsar Site

The government of France has designated its two latest Wetlands of International Importance, bringing that Party’s total Ramsar Sites to 38, covering 3,289,306 hectares. As summarized from the Ramsar Information Sheets by Ramsar’s Kati Wenzel, La Vasière des Badamiers (Île de Mayotte – océan indien) (115 hectares, 12°47’S 045°16’E), on the Indian Ocean island of Mayotte, consists of a mud flat area partially covered by mangroves. Sea grass beds and different species of algae play a key role in maintaining the ecological character of this highly productive and diverse ecosystem, which is used as a refuge as well as a breeding, feeding and wintering site by many bird species, especially waders, but also by fish and turtles such as the Green Sea Turtle. The site is internationally important for the migration of the Lesser Crested Tern, as well as for the presence of several species endemic to the Comores Islands and Madagascar like the globally endangered Madagascar Heron and the spider Idioctis intertidalis living in the intertidal zone.

The site acts as an important filter upstream of the connected lagoon especially in terms of urban discharge. Siltation, coastal erosion and urban development threaten the site. An educational path to experience the mangrove ecosystem and natural environment of Mayotte is under development. The site itself is partially owned by the Conservatoire du Littoral and partially by the state.

Some photos of both new sites are available at http://www.ramsar.org/cda/en/ramsar-news-archives-2011-corsica-mayotte/main/ramsar/1-26-45-489%5E25555_4000_0__ .