Mauritania offers major wintering sites for many migratory Palaearctic birds, which congregated in large numbers in coastal and Sahelian wetlands from September to March where they mix with substantial populations of Afro-tropical breeding waterbirds.
The Bancd’ArguinNational Park holds the world’s largest concentrations of non-breeding waders. It is estimated that as many as 2,250,000 migrant waders winter at this site, which is more than 30% of the estimated total population of waders breeding in the Occidental Palaearctic.
Other major sites of congregation of waterbirds are situated along the Senegal river (Diawling National Park, Chat Tboul, Keur Macène pond, Lakes Mâl, Aleg and R’Kiz), as well as a series wetlands in Eastern Mauritania (tamourt and guelb).
The poultry production is minor farming sector (5% of national PIB), with a poultry population estimated at 2 millions in semi-commercial farms and 1.4 millions of backyard poultry.
Avian Influenza is part of the diseases monitored through the national surveillance network REMEMA. A national comity of AIV control has been set up in November 2005 (Comité interministériel de lutte contre la Grippe Aviaire) to prevent the risk of introduction of HPAI H5N1 in Mauritania.
Two epidemiological survey of the influenza virus in wild birds has been conducted in Mauritania, in March and December 2006, in the framework of the Technical Cooperation Programmes (TCP) of FAO (Surveillance and prevention of HPAI, FAO TCP) . Objectives were to evaluate the Avian Influenza prevalence, in particular highly pathogenic strains, among wild bird populations, including both migratory and resident bird species; and to provide technical support to the national surveillance programme through capacity building of national counterparts on sampling techniques.
Mauritania is also part of the GRIPAVI research project on ecology and epidemiology of avian influenza in developing countries.