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World Wetlands Day Marked in Ireland With Photo Contest

2nd February 2021
Ireland's Ramsar sites, such as Clara Bog above, are important for their variety of wetlands habitats, for wintering and breeding birds and for plants, mammals and invertebrates Ireland's Ramsar sites, such as Clara Bog above, are important for their variety of wetlands habitats, for wintering and breeding birds and for plants, mammals and invertebrates Credit: Peter Foss of Wetland Surveys Ireland

They might be small pockets of marshy ground, or they could be on bogs, in estuaries, or turloughs.

All these are wetland habitats, and are the focus of a new photographic contest to mark World Wetlands day today, February 2nd.

The global event marks 50 years since the signing of the Ramsar Convention, an international agreement on conservation and “wise use” of wetlands.

Ireland is a signatory to the agreement which aims to ensure protection of the ecosystems which tend to be taken for granted.

The Irish Ramsar Wetlands Committee says that a combination of geology and abundant rain has “endowed Ireland with an extraordinary array of wetlands covering some 20% of the country”

The Clara Bog Ramsar site  Photo: Peter Foss of Wetland Surveys Ireland The Clara Bog Ramsar site Photo: Peter Foss of Wetland Surveys Ireland

“There are many types of wetlands ranging from lakes, rivers, turloughs, bogs and estuaries to fens, marshes, wet woodlands, heaths and machair,” it says.

“While many wetlands are protected under EU environmental legislation, 45 of Ireland’s wetlands are Ramsar sites,” it says, and are part of the global Ramsar network.

These sites include Tralee Bay, Lough Corrib, Pollardstown Fen, Clara Bog and Coole Lough and Garryland wood.

Irelands Ramsar sites are important for their variety of wetlands habitats, for wintering and breeding birds and for plants, mammals and invertebrates.

Some 40% of all species live or breed in wetlands, and wetlands store 30% of land-based carbon which is vital for climate change mitigation.

The ecosystems also remove pollutants from circulation and provide protection from flooding and storms.

A video series is being rolled out today, launched by EcoEye presenter Anja Murray, with more details on Irish wetlands.ie

Photos of wetland habitats can be submitted via the Wetland Surveys Ireland Snapshot App until May 31st.

Prizes include OPW Family Heritage Cards, Biodiversity Ireland Swatch cards and inclusion in a 2022 Irish Wetlands Calendar.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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