On Sunday 2 February, people around the world will be celebrating World Wetlands Day, aiming to highlight the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet.
From the Arctic lakes to the tropical shores, to estuaries, rivers and beyond, wetlands can be found across the world, and are one of the most important habitats on earth.
Covering only 6% of the earth’s surface, 40% of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands. To people, they not only provide us with drinking water, and naturally buffer us from floods and drought, they act as giant carbon sinks, storing a third of the world’s total carbon emissions.
World Wetlands Day aims to highlight may of the issues we face today:
- The world’s biodiversity is in steep decline, with wetland species declining most.
- Between 1970 and 2014, populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptile species declined by 60%.
- England has lost 90 per cent of its wetlands in the last 400 years.
- Life thrives in wetlands. Including: 30% of known fish species, with 200 new freshwater species discovered annually, many at risk amphibians and reptiles, migratory and resident water birds, thousands of plant species and endemic species.
We can all do something to help our wetlands, whether that be locally, nationally or internationally, and it doesn't take a huge action to have a big impact. Doing something simple like creating a small pond in your garden or school, or choosing to visit a local wetland, such as WWT Washington and support their conservation efforts and wetland habitat management, can all help have a positive impact and help raise awareness of these vital biodiverse habitats.
WWT Washington Wetland Centre stands proudly on the river Wear, surrounded by a blanket of industry. This urban retreat offers visitors a fantastic opportunity to get closer to nature and learn to appreciate wetlands and life within them. Be mesmerised with our collection of rare and endangered waterbirds such as Chilean flamingos, Baer's pochard and trumpeter swans, to cheeky Asian short-clawed otters. Or learn more about water in our water lab and rain garden. Immerse yourself in one of our 5 bird hides or simply sit and enjoy the view over our reed beds, there's something for everyone to enjoy in our wetlands.
Celebrate World Wetlands Day with us and lets get the word out about why wetlands matter!