The Wetland Centre in Sandspit, Karachi was established in 1998, with the support of the Directorate General of International Support (DGIS), Government of the Netherlands and Karachi Port Trust (KPT)
The Wetland Centre in Sandspit, Karachi was established in 1998, with the support of the Directorate General of International Support (DGIS), Government of the Netherlands and Karachi Port Trust (KPT).
A land of 500 m² was provided by Karachi Port Trust to WWF-Pakistan to establish the Wetland Centre, at N 24º 50.924? , E 66 º 53.687.
Sandspit area is made up of tidal lagoons, inter-tidal mudflats and mangrove swamps. It is supported by various type of species namely migratory birds, marine dolphins, crabs, lobsters etc.
The sandy beach of Sandspit is the most important nesting habitat of marine turtles. About 20,000 migratory birds visit the area in winter. A total of 106 species of bird that include migratory and resident have been recorded from the area. Five villages surround the Sandspit area. Fishing is the main source of income of the community of these villages.
There are 400 hectares of mangrove forests in the area. More than 50 % of the villagers depend on mangroves for fuel wood, constructing boats and houses. Besides using wood, leaves are also utilized as fodder for livestock.
The community lacks basic education and other basic necessities of life i.e. potable water, sanitation, electricity, gas, medical facility etc. WWF initiated the rehabilitation of the mangroves in the area by involving the local community. Sandspit beach is also one of the most important recreation sites for Karachi residents as well as tourists.
With regular interactions and motivations, the community has enhanced their perceptions of the natural resources of the area and is involved in conservation activities.
Several trainings have been conducted by WWF – Pakistan to improve the socio economic conditions of the local community.
Several activities are arranged and conducted to involve the students, community and the general public to raise the awareness and educate them on the Wetlands, its importance and conservation issues. These activities include Beach cleaning, turtle watching, bird watching, Dolphin watching, mangrove forests watch, nature excursion etc. Besides that, environment related days (World Wetlands Day, Earth Day, Environment Day, Biodiversity day, etc) are celebrated every year.
Events are also organized for the students like tableau, painting, Debate competition etc.
Main CEPA work areas
We organise workshops, lectures, seminars and theatre performances on wetlands and environmental related issues. We collaborate with the local community to promote integrated conservation and development. We encourage the public to support the centre by becoming a member and participate in the conservation activities. We use brochures, magazines, website and social networking tools to communicate with our stakeholders.
Top three successes
WWF has taken several steps to conserve the diverse mangrove and coastal ecosystem.
Improvement of the community’s socioeconomic conditions is one of the important steps.
Following are the most successful initiatives of WWF Wetland Centre:
Conservation of Mangroves and Marine turtles.
Provision of Gas pipeline to reduce cutting and lopping pressure on the mangroves.
Ecotourism programme initiated through local Community Based Organization.
Establishing Mother and Child Health Care Centre for local womenfolk
Establishment of Community School for Girls and enrolment of local girls for education
Top three challenges
Making the Centre self sustainable for its functioning
Marketing the Centre for fund raising and lack of funds for regular activities
Publicising the Centre in such way that people know that they can visit in all weathers.
Creating signage / site information Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails.
Managing / creating habitat; Running a visitor centre; Building / maintaining structure.
Working with disabled people; Engaging young people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers.
Education and communication
Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials.
PR and marketing; Health and safety; Fund-raising; Project planning.