|Location||Egypt, North Sinai|
|Central coordinates||33o 25.00' East 31o 7.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i|
|Altitude||0 - 10m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box for key species. Zaranik’s importance is primarily as a bottleneck area for migrant Palearctic waterbirds. Every autumn, hundreds of thousands of waterbirds flying along the eastern Mediterranean coastline concentrate at Zaranik or pass through the area, many landing to rest and feed before resuming their journey southwards across Sinai or westwards to the Nile valley.The maximum counts (seasonal totals) of some of the most numerous autumn migrants recorded during four seasons between 1979 and 1992 at Zaranik are as follows: Pelecanus onocrotalus (2,122), Ixobrychus minutus (4,162), Nycticorax nycticorax (2,742), Ardeola ralloides (5,487), Casmerodius albus (4,239), Ardea cinerea (6,194), Ardea purpurea (5,349), Anas querquedula (221,616), Recurvirostra avosetta (6,828), Glareola pratincola (490), Charadrius hiaticula (1,909), Charadrius alexandrinus (5,687), Charadrius leschenaultii (197), Calidris alba (5,776), Calidris minuta (15,503), Calidris alpina (8,134), Limosa limosa (1,254), Larus genei (2,011), Sterna hirundo (12,433), Sterna albifrons (1,810), Chlidonias hybridus (950) and Chlidonias leucopterus (18,436).Vast numbers of passerines and near-passerines also arrive at the coast, as they do everywhere along the Egyptian Mediterranean shoreline, but here hunting and persecution is illegal and controlled. Some 270 bird species have been reported in Zaranik. Only 10 species are known to breed in the Protected Area, of which Sterna albifrons and Charadrius alexandrinus are the most numerous and prominent. Zaranik is also the only locality in Egypt where Recurvirostra avosetta is known to breed on a regular basis (five pairs in summer 1994), and large numbers also winter (up to 700, December 1998).
Site description Zaranik Protected Area is located at the eastern end of Lake Bardawil and encompasses an eastern extension of that lake: the Zaranik Lagoon. The lagoon is shallow, with numerous small islets scattered throughout it, most of which are covered with dense saltmarsh vegetation. Extensive mudflats and saltmarshes are found along the lagoon’s shores, merging into sabkha and sand-dunes further inland. A saltworks was established at Zaranik in the early 1980s, prior to its declaration as a protected area, consisting of a pumping station, extensive evaporation pools and saltpans. The facility only became active in 1997.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus||winter||-||10,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo||winter||-||5,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus||passage||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Corncrake Crex crex||passage||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Slender-billed Gull Larus genei||winter||-||2,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Zaranik||Nature Conservation Reserve||25,000||protected area contains site||25,000|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity Reptiles: Caretta caretta (EN) was recently found to have its largest breeding concentration along the Egyptian Mediterranean in the Protected Area. Chelonia mydas (EN) is suspected of breeding locally and Dermochelys coriacea (EN) has been recorded once. Islets and littoral dunes fringing the southern margins of the Zaranik Lagoon and adjacent sabkha are said to have held a small population of Testudo kleinmanni (EN). Trapelus savignii, endemic to the Isthmic Desert and the western Negev, is found throughout the sandy habitats of the region. Mammals: the rare Vulpes zerda (DD) has been recorded.
Management considerations Zaranik is protected by Prime Ministerial Decree 1429/1985. An administrative building and visitor centre have recently been opened. There is an ongoing GEF–MedWet–EEAA project to develop the management and infrastructure of the reserve.Zaranik shares many of the same problems as Lake Bardawil (IBA EG001). Due to the growing coastal tourist development activity in North Sinai, the value of land in the area has risen sharply in the past few years. This has led local politicians, under pressure from native inhabitants who claim ownership of the land within the Protected Area, to dispute the protection status and boundaries of Zaranik. Considerable pressure is being exerted to reduce the eastern boundaries of the reserve along the Mediterranean Sea. Traditional land-ownership in the Protected Area is a sensitive issue that needs to be addressed in an effective and fair manner.The saltworks in Zaranik have caused large-scale, ecological changes in the Zaranik Lagoon, none of which appear to have had a negative impact on birds; in fact, they seem to have been largely positive. The production of salt has caused limited disturbance so far. The effectiveness of the Protected Area in preventing bird-catching activities (primarily during autumn) has been fairly high. However, violations still take place regularly. Falcon-catching activities have proven particularly difficult to control.
References Baha el Din (1996b, 1997).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Zaranik Protected Area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013
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