Large Wetland In Congo Designated As Partially Protected Area

The 65,696-square kilometer Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been designated as the world’s largest Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, a treaty protecting wetlands. More than twice the size of Belgium, the wetland area surrounds the Lake Tumba region in the Congo’s Central Western Basin. One of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, the wetland is home to forest elephants, forest buffalo, 150 species of fish, and numerous bird species. It also is home to more than 750,000 people, some of whom work on rice, palm oil, and groundnut plantations. The Ramsar designation will provide a framework for managing the area’s resources and protecting biodiversity, said representatives of WWF International, which supported the area’s bid for recognition. The Ramsar Convention, signed by 158 governments, protects 1,757 wetland sites worldwide.