Africa announces world’s largest protected freshwater site

A vast area in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become the world's largest Wetland Site of International Importance.

The Ramsar Convention, the treaty that protects designated wetlands, announced its recognition at a ceremony in Kinshasa, the capital of the central African nation. The Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe area, at around 65,696 square kilometres, contains Africa’s largest body of freshwater.

"This is a significant step forward for the welfare of communities who depend on this wetland for their livelihoods and for the wildlife that lives there," the Environment News Service quoted James Leape, from WWF International, as saying.

The site has one of the world’s highest concentrations of biodiversity, including 150 species of fish and several kinds of birds, the report said.

The vegetation, which acts as a buffer to floods, is also an important major sink for the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

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