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6 th September 2006. Ballaugh Curraghs Area of Special Scientific Interest declared as a Ramsar Site. What is Ramsar?. A town in Iran, on the coast of the Caspian Sea

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6th September 2006

  • Ballaugh Curraghs Area of Special Scientific Interest declared as a Ramsar Site


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What is Ramsar?

  • A town in Iran, on the coast of the Caspian Sea

  • A town in Iran where the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance – especially as waterfowl habitat – was signed in 1971

  • It was the first conservation treaty to aim for a truly worldwide participation and has achieved some impressive results


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The Ramsar Convention - how does it work?

  • Contracting Parties (member countries) commit themselves to:

  • Designate at least one wetland that meets the criteria for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance ("Ramsar List") and ensure the maintenance of the ecological character of each of these "Ramsar Sites".

  • Promote the wise use of all wetlands within their territory through their national land-use planning, including wetland conservation and management;

  • Promote training in wetland research, management and wise use;

  • Consult with other Parties about the implementation of the Convention, especially with regard to transfrontier wetlands, shared water systems, shared species, and development projects that may affect wetlands.


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Wetland sites – what are they?

  • Ramsar protects wetland sites but uses a very broad definition of such habitats including swamps and marshes, lakes and rivers, wet grasslands and peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans.


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Which wetlands to include?

  • There are now established criteria which sites should meet to be considered for inclusion in the Ramsar list

  • Sites supporting 1% of the population of a species of waterfowl

  • or an appreciable number of rare species of plant or animal


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How many sites?

  • More than 1,600 wetlands worldwide, covering more than 145 million hectares, are included in the Ramsar List.

  • And now the Ballaugh Curraghs has been added

  • The Ballaugh Curraghs is a special place

  • The Isle of Man's most extensive area of marshland with a rich growth of willow and birch and scattered rushy meadows.


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Ballaugh Curraghs

  • The flora of the haymeadows is outstanding from late May to early July when tens of thousands of orchids, including heath spotted, early marsh, common-spotted, northern marsh and common twayblade, are in bloom.

  • Yellow bartsia, yellow rattle, lousewort, purple loosestrife and cuckoo flower are among the other grassland species present.

  • In the peat areas, bog myrtle and purple moor grass are dominant. Other plants of the wetter areas include bogbean, marsh cinquefoil, devil's bit scabious and cottongrass.

  • The magnificent bushy royal fern, largest of British ferns, turns a beautiful orange colour in the autumn.

  • Common sallow is dominant in the scrub.


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Ballaugh Curraghs

  • Teal, Water Rail, Woodcock, Curlew, Raven (all year). Grasshopper Warbler, Blackcap, Siskin, Redpoll (summer).

  • Largest Hen Harrier roost in Western Europe - up to 80 birds with 20-40 quite usual, also Peregrine and Merlin.

    (Hen Harrier photo courtesy of Chris Wormwell)

  • Probably the best single site on the island for moth diversity, with over 100 species flying on a good night. A good site for Holly Blue butterfly


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Ballaugh Curraghs

  • Damselflies and dragonflies are common throughout the area.

  • The fauna of the area also includes brown hare, rabbit, hedgehog, woodmice, pygmy shrew, stoat and polecat (feral ferret).

  • The common frog, the common lizard and bats are also present.


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Ballaugh Curraghs

  • The boundary of the ASSI (and Ramsar site) takes in land belonging to

  • Manx National Heritage

  • Manx Wildlife Trust

  • Curraghs Wildlife Park

  • Private landowners


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Ballaugh Curraghs – The Future

  • The Curraghs Wildlife Park will continue to manage its land within the designation area for its intrinsic wildlife interest, rather than as an exotic wildlife attraction


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Ballaugh Curraghs – The Future

  • The Manx Government has announced initiatives for private landowners in the wider area of the curragh to restore flower-rich hay-meadows and maintain the high water levels on which wildlife depends


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Ballaugh Curraghs – how to see it

  • You can see many of the habitats of the Ballaugh Curraghs from our Nature Trail

  • Start from either the rear of the Café or the Asian Swamp

  • Read the labels on its natural and land-use history

  • Follow the marked trails – Curlew Walks – on Manx National Heritage land

  • Follow the boardwalk at Close Sartfield – the Manx Wildlife Trust nature reserve


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The End – Thank you for watching

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