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Bangweulu Wetlands facts for kids

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Bangweulu Wetlands
Bangweulu Swamps
Bangweulu Swamps.jpg
View of the wetlands

The Bangweulu Wetlands are a wetland area in north-eastern Zambia.

Overview

Bangweulu, which means "where the water sky meets the sky", is found mostly within Zambia's Northern Province and known by the Ramsar Convention as one of the world's most important wetlands. The 9,850-square-kilometre (3,800 sq mi) region has flood-plains, seasonally flooded grasslands, woodlands, andswamps, fed by rivers near it.

Animals and plants

The ecosystem has Cyperus papyrus, floating grasses, miombo woodland, and reeds that support a lot of crocodiles, fish, and water birds. Some mammals in the Bangweulu Wetlands are buffalo, zebra, elephants, hippopotamus, hyenas, jackals, lechwe, sable antelope, and sitatunga. Millions of straw-coloured fruit bats go to Bangweulu's Mushitu swamp forest, in Kasanka National Park. In 2016, African Parks partnered with Fondation Segré to help 600 animals, including hartebeest, impala, and puku, into the wetlands.

Bangweulu has been called a "Important Bird Area" by BirdLife International. The wetlands are home to more than 400 bird species, including cormorants, ducks, egrets, Geese, herons, ibises, pygmy goose, and waders. Other animals found in Bangweulu include the great white pelican, saddle-billed stork, spoonbill, and wattled crane.

Human–wildlife conflict

Crested eagle panorama
House in Bangweulu's swamps, 2006

Bangweulu holds several villages, and around 50,000–90,000 people depend on the wetlands, resulting in human–wildlife conflict. The ecosystem could be damaged by habitat burning for farming, overfishing, and poaching. 75 poachers were arrested in 2010, and 115 were arrested in 2011. The use of mosquito nets for fishing has lessened fish populations in Bangweulu and Zambia.

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