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Nicosia’s largest wetland celebrates World Wetlands Day

Every year, February 2 is World Wetlands Day (WWD), a day to raise global awareness about the important role wetlands play for people and the planet. This year, the focus of WWD is the role of wetlands in combating climate change.

BirdLife Cyprus has planned a family-friendly, activity-packed event kicking off at the ‘bird hide’ of Athalassa National Forest Park at 9.30 in the morning, the aim being to learn more about wetlands and discover the wondrous world of birds through a ringing demonstration, birdwatching and educational activities.

The day will begin with an hour-long ringing demonstration where participants will get a unique chance to watch various species of birds being ringed and released back to Nature. “Bird ringing is a useful research tool that helps us keep a close eye on bird populations” say BirdLife Cyprus. “By placing a uniquely numbered metal ring around a bird’s leg, we can identify birds as individuals and can answer vital questions such as how long birds live, when and where they move, helping us better protect birds and the places they require.”

Located within Athalassa Park is the largest and most important wetland of Nicosia, a refuge to over 170 species of birds. Between 10.30am and 12pm, catch a glimpse of migratory or seasonal birds with the help of experts. Binoculars, telescopes and bird guides will facilitate the birdwatching experience along with relevant information material and educational activities.

This year’s WWD theme ‘Wetlands and climate change’ highlights wetlands as the key to coping with climate change. “Wetlands play a significant role in stabilising greenhouse gas emissions and in blunting the impacts of climate change” says BirdLife Cyprus.

“They naturally absorb and store carbon, they protect coastlines from extreme weather, and they reduce floods and relieve droughts. Conserving and restoring these amazing ecosystems will help us prepare for, cope with, and bounce back from the impacts of climate change.”

World Wetlands Day always comes soon after BirdLife Cyprus’ mid-winter waterbird count, which is part of the International Waterbird Census. This year, BirdLife Cyprus’ volunteers counted over 16,300 waterbirds at more than 50 wetland sites across Cyprus.

World Wetlands Day
Birdwatching and ringing demonstration to celebrate World Wetlands Day. Organised by BirdLife Cyprus. February 2. Athalassas park, Nicosia. Meeting point: Athalassa Park Bird Hide. 9am-12pm. Tel: 22-455072

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