BirdLife: The Magazine Apr-Jun 2018 - Page 11

tenth of their world population. This spectacle is a big draw for one of the Delta’s other regular clientele – tourists. The delta is a valuable source of income for local people: saltpans and a fishing co-operative create further livelihoods. The conservation world recognises the Gediz Delta’s significance. Not only is it listed as an Important Bird & Biodiversity Area (IBA) and a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA), but also a Ramsar site – a wetland of international importance. But it is also in danger. The Gediz River is polluted, and the city of Izmir is slowly encroaching. There have been plans for a sewage treatment plant, a seaport, and proposals to dump 7 million m3 of polluted mud within the IBA boundaries. Last year, however, the worst threat was announced: a huge mega-bridge that would connect the southern and northern coasts of the Izmir Bay. Building this bridge would apr-jun 2018 • birdlife destroy crucial breeding islands and foraging areas across the northern end of the Delta. Fortunately, the Delta isn’t without defendants. Doğa Derneği (BirdLife in Turkey) have started a legal case against the bridge development. They’re also carrying out a wetland restoration project, funded by the MAVA Foundation, to rejuvenate land that has been degraded. Losing this strategic habitat could tip the balance for a host of Globally Threatened species, meaning the difference between recovery and extinction. Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis Photo Iliuta Goean / Shutterstock 0 Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus Photo Zaferkizilkaya / Shutterstock 4 11