Despite the pandemic, the Kızılırmak Delta Bird Sanctuary, one of Turkey's most important wetlands, hosted 35 thousand visitors last year. While the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change and the General Directorate of Nature and National Parks are preparing the delta to become Turkey's first and only UNESCO natural heritage site, the decisions taken by the Samsun Governorship Local Wetland Commission and the Natural Heritage Conservation Board are meticulously implemented. In this context, due to the closure of the region to vehicle traffic, Samsun Metropolitan Municipality provides services to its visitors with bicycle, electric bicycle and battery-operated vehicle services.
The Kızılırmak Delta Bird Sanctuary, which is on the UNESCO Temporary Heritage List, is home to 24 of 15 bird species in danger of extinction, and 420 of 356 bird species seen in the country, with its rich population in terms of nutrients and fauna. In the delta, where 140 species of birds breed, 100 thousand water birds live. Since more than 7 million migratory birds are on the route every year, 97.2 percent of the storks that stay here establish their nests.
The delta, which is 56 thousand hectares in size, fascinates those who see it with its natural lakes, deciduous flooded forests that are completely covered with water in spring, reeds, and its unique view at sunrise and sunset.
LAST YEAR 35 thousand PEOPLE VISITED
The interest in the delta, which has an area such as a visitor center, image viewing center, exhibition hall and sales aisle where products specific to the region are promoted, is increasing every year. In 2021, when the pandemic restrictions ended, the bird paradise was visited by a total of 21 thousand people, 708 thousand 13 of whom were ticketed and 292 thousand 35 students.
MOTOR VEHICLE PROHIBITED BY THE GOVERNOR'S COMMISSION DECISION
The Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change and the General Directorate of Nature and National Parks, which ensure the natural life cycle in the bird paradise, are preparing the delta to become Turkey's first and only UNESCO natural heritage site. In this context, the area was closed to vehicle traffic within the scope of Samsun Governorship Local Wetland Commission and Samsun Natural Heritage Conservation Board decisions and commission decisions numbered 14 of January 2021, 451 and numbered 16 of December 2021, 633. Samsun Metropolitan Municipality, in cooperation with SAMKUŞ, provided bicycles, electric bicycles and battery powered vehicles to the visitors for sightseeing.
TEN THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE TRAVEL WITH BICYCLES AND BATTERY VEHICLES
While tens of thousands of visitors tour the area with environmentally friendly vehicles, birdwatchers photograph birds and nature at the observation towers. Samsun Metropolitan Municipality, which also offers 3-wheel bicycles with baskets on the back, especially for the use of photographers, has allocated two open-top buses for tourist groups that will visit the area. The bird sanctuary is introduced to the visitors by the guides on the buses, and information is given about the birds and the works carried out.
PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE BIRD PARADISE
In the meantime, the protection and management of the Kizilirmak Delta Bird Sanctuary, which was declared a 'Sensitive Area to be Strictly Protected' by the Presidency on April 21, 2020, from all human activities except scientific work and education in the field of wildlife development, the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. While being responsible, Samsun Metropolitan Municipality, which implements the decisions taken, mobilizes all possibilities for the protection of the World Heritage. All the activities carried out are followed by the ministries as an exemplary and pilot project.