Sudd Wetland, Things to Do, Animals And Interesting Facts

One of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems, the Sudd wetland is said to cover around 57,000 km2. Seasons and years have a significant impact on the Sudd wetlands’ extent, which is very changeable. The extent of the wetland can reach 90,000 km² during the wet season, but it progressively diminishes to around 42,000 km² after the high season floods. It gets its water supply from the White Nile (also known as Bahr el Jebel) as it flows out of Uganda’s Lake Victoria and from the rains that fall in the region. The White Nile empties into a shallow depression north of Juba, creating a system of channels, lagoons, and inundated areas that draw nutrients from the clay soils below. The vegetation of the Sudd is greatly affected by patterns of flood inundation. The vegetation of the Sudd mainly includes floodplain woods, river and rain flooded grasslands, and permanent swamps. Both the distribution and production of biomass show clear short- and long-term fluctuations in these ecosystems, which are characterized by substantial environmental gradients.

Sudd Wetland

This Sudd wetland is part of the “Sudd-Sahelian Flooded Grasslands and Savannas” eco-region, which is one of the 200 in the world according to WWF. The unique biological qualities of this area are well-known worldwide. It is home to numerous endangered animal species, antelope migrations, millions of migrating birds from the Palaearctic, and vast populations of fish. Elephants (Loxodonta africana), tiang migration (Damaliscus lunatus tiang), white-eared kob migration (Kobus kob thomasi), buffalo (Syncerus caffer), and shoebills (Balaeniceps rex) are among the notable wildlife species found in South Sudan. Important migrating bird wintering grounds include the Sudd, where you can find species like the Great White Pelican, Black Crowned Crane, White Stork, and Black Tern. As a section of the East-Asian/East African flyway, it connects the breeding grounds of Palearctic birds in central Europe and Asia to their southern wintering grounds. The Sudd and its environs provide a safe haven for many birds that migrate between Africa and other continents during the dry season.

The Sudd Wetlands In South Sudan

Interesting Facts About Sudd wetland

Due to the mosaic of habitat types found in the Sudd, which provides ideal conditions for recruitment and survival, the region’s fish populations are rich and numerous. For more than a hundred different fish species, the optimal places to breed, rear, feed, and survive are in open water, riverine, lacustrine, or palustrine aquatic habitats. These ecosystems are mostly undisturbed and have not been significantly impacted by industrial development. They are home to a variety of fish species, including 31 Siluroids, 16 Characoids, 14 Cyprinoids, 11 Momyrids, 8 Cichlids, and 7 Cyprinodonotids. Cromeria nilotica, Nannaethiops unitaeniatus, Barbus stigmatopygus, Chelaethiops bibie, Andersonia leptura, Aplocheilichthys loati, Epiplatys marnoi, and Electris nanus are the eight (8) species of indigenous Nile dwarf fish that may be found in the Sudd wetland.

About a million people call the Sudd wetland region home, and their way of life is intricately related to the ecosystem that supports them. Tribes of Nilotic and pastoralist peoples originally from the Nile Valley—the Nuer in Southern Liech State, the Dinka in Eastern Lakes State, the Shilluk in Upper Nile State, and the Anyuak in Akobo State—form the cultural backbone of the Sudd. Through a mix of nomadic agro-pastoralism, collecting non-timber forest products, and fishing, these communities have established traditions that enable them to adapt to the flooded and seasonally changeable conditions throughout the Sudd. Some specific traditions include traditional fishing and hunting methods and the seasonal creation of villages on small islands in flooded areas. Tribespeople of the Sudd rely on the river’s hydrology for their survival and cultural customs. Additionally, the cultural groups residing in the Sudd region uphold beliefs and behaviors that contribute to the preservation of their ecosystem. For instance, the cultural beliefs of the Shilluk people in the Sudd region play a significant role in the preservation of the Nile lechwe, an endemic antelope species to South Sudan. The killing of these animals is considered taboo, which naturally aids in their conservation and sustainable use. Because of the deep connection between many Sudd cultural traditions and the natural environment, as well as the need of fostering an appreciation for and understanding of traditional knowledge among the broader population, it is wise to provide financial and other resources to these communities.

Things to Do in Sudd Wetland