Ichkeul lake

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Ichkeul National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Vue matinale de la montagne dominant le parc Ichkeul.jpg
Ichkeul mountain
Map showing the location of Ichkeul National Park
Map showing the location of Ichkeul National Park
Location Tunisia
Nearest city Mateur
Coordinates 37°10′0″N 9°40′0″E / 37.16667°N 9.66667°E / 37.16667; 9.66667Coordinates: 37°10′0″N 9°40′0″E / 37.16667°N 9.66667°E / 37.16667; 9.66667
Area 126 km²
Established 1980
Type: Natural
Criteria: x
Designated: 1980 (4th session)
Reference No. 8
State Party:  Tunisia
Region: Arab States
Endangered: 1996–2006

Ichkeul Lake (Arabic: بحيرة اشكل‎) is a lake in northern Tunisia, located 20 kilometres ( 12 miles) to Bizerte, the northernmost city in Africa on the Mediterranean Sea. The lake and wetlands of Ichkeul National Park are an important stopping-over point for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds each year. Among the lake's visitors are ducks, geese, storks, and pink flamingoes. The park has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1980, and between 1996 and 2006 the park has also been on the group's list of World Heritage in Danger. Dam construction on the lake's feeder rivers has produced major changes to the ecological balance of the lake and wetlands.

Because dams have sharply reduced the freshwater inflow to the lakes and marshes, the reedbeds, sedges, and other fresh-water plant species have been replaced with salt-loving plants. These changes have produced a sharp reduction in the migratory bird populations, which depend on the mix of plants that used to exist.

According to the UNESCO Website, the Tunisian government has undertaken some steps to retain freshwater and reduce salinity, and the lake was removed from UNESCO's list of World heritage in danger in 2006.

However some reports from the World Conservation Union suggest that the salinity has already become excessively high and the possibility for rehabilitation may be rapidly disappearing.[citation needed]

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