|Central coordinates||14o 33.00' East 22o 39.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 2m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description This coastal area comprises a private nature reserve of 400 ha and a saltworks. It lies adjacent to the sea on the central Namib desert coast and has been extensively altered to create numerous evaporation ponds. Immediately inland lie the gravel-plains of the Namib desert. The saltworks are situated about 7 km (4 miles) north of Swakopmund, off Route 76 to Terrace Bay. Production of the concentrated brine at the saltpan, known as Panther Beacon, began in 1933, but by 1952 the salt source was exhausted. Seawater has since been pumped into open evaporation and concentration ponds from which crystallized salt is removed with mechanical scrapers. The pans are shallow and of varying salinity. A large wooden commercial guano platform covering 31,000 m² has been built in one of the northern pans. Apart from a few halophytes, the saltworks are devoid of vegetation.
Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Mile 4 occasionally supports massive numbers of waterbirds. The guano platform has supported up to 700,000 Phalacrocorax capensis in the past, and an average of 45,000 birds has been supported in recent years. Cormorants aside, the area may support more than 50,000 other waterbirds, including large numbers of Phoenicopterus ruber and P. minor, Haematopus moquini, and up to 100,000 Sterna hirundo. Breeding species include Sterna balaenarum and Charadrius pallidus.
Non-bird biodiversity: Brown hyena Hyaena brunnea (LR/nt) occurs at the nearby Swakopmund dump and scavenges along the beaches in this area.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus||winter||-||1,306-2,688 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor||winter||-||common||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis||winter||-||45,400-700,000 individuals||-||A1, A4i||Endangered|
|African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini||winter||-||common||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus||winter||-||372-706 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus||breeding||-||120 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Damara Tern Sternula balaenarum||breeding||-||present||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|A4iii Species group - seabirds||winter||-||100,000-499,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Pantherbake||Private Reserve||1,000||protected area contained by site||1,000|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: Guano harvesting.|
Related state of the world's birds case studies
References Berry (1976a,b), Cooper et al. (1982), Crawford and Dyer (1995), Noli-Peard and Williams (1991), Simmons ( 1992), Tarr (1996).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mile 4 saltworks. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014
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