Sudan has designated its fourth “Ramsar Site”: Khor Abu Habil Inner Delta (Site no.2485) is an inland wetland with an area of almost 950,000 hectares, located 400 kilometres south-west of Khartoum.
The Site is the only one of the three alluvial fans in the country that remains in a seemingly natural state; the others have been reclaimed for agriculture. A typical characteristic of this Site is its hundreds of temporary pools or “mayas” that appear amid the dunes during the flooding of the River (Khor) Abu Habil between July and October.
It is an important Site for migratory waterbirds, hosting seven threatened species including the critically endangered Rueppell’s vulture(Gyps rueppellii) and sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius).
The forest remnants of the Site are a source of products such as balanite oil and tebeldi juice from baobab trees, Arabic gum from acacia, fodder, medicinal plants, and fuel wood for the hundreds of villages in and around the Site. These communities practise artisanal fishing, agriculture, hunting, and nomadic livestock rearing.
While the impact of communities’ dependence on the Site’s resources is unknown, household sewage, urban wastewater, agricultural effluents and droughts are significant threats affecting its ecological character. The Site is yet to benefit from a management plan and a national legal conservation status.