Flufftail celebrated on World Wetlands Day

Do you have a wetland? Would a wetland benefit your landscape? Do you need a SALI landscaper to install a wetland on your property?

World Wetlands Day (2 February) is a great time to remember the importance of wetlands and water birds in the landscape.

One of the biggest events during World Wetland Week will be the 5th Annual Flufftail Festival which takes place at the Johannesburg Zoo & National Zoological Garden.

What is a Flufftail?

The White-winged Flufftail is a critically endangered wetland bird discovered in the moist, high altitude Middelpunt Wetland in the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment at Dullstroom, Mpumalanga in 1981.

For decades Birdlife experts believed the secretive white-winged flufftail, one of the world’s rarest birds, bred in just one place: the moist high-altitude Berga Wetland in Ethiopia. Then it was found in South Africa.

Alarming population estimates suggest there are around 250 of these birds globally, and only around 50 remaining in South Africa. As a wetland ground nesting species, the critically endangered Flufftail has become a poster pin up for the need to protect, nuture and extend wetland habitats across South Africa.

Honoring wetland birds

“We support the 2019 Flufftail Festival as an educational initiative which aims to create awareness on wetlands, water and water birds”, says Norah de Wet, National Chairperson of SALI.

World Wetlands Day (2 February) and World Water Day (22 March) are ideal days to educate the public on wetlands, water and water birds.

The importance of wetlands, how they function and the role they in our society will be unpacked, particularly with regards to reducing the impacts of climate change.

The extreme weather conditions being experienced throughout the country is a reminder for constant education on the importance of water conservation and there is much to be learned at this year’s event.

Wetlands and education

As part of the Flufftail Festival, approximately 500 Grade 6 learners will be exposed to the selected zoo’s on 8 February and 1 March while working through educational activities on water, wetlands and water birds.

In addition, approximately 400 community members will have an opportunity to explore the Johannesburg Zoo on 09 February and participate in the activities.

Members of the public will receive discounted entry fees on 2 & 3 March at the National Zoological Garden in Pretoria.

The World Wetlands Day – 2019 Flufftail Festival is hosted by Rand Water (Water Wise) together with BirdLife South Africa, Toyota, Gauteng Department of Agricultural and Rural Development (GDARD), Joburg City Parks and Zoo and the South African National Botanical Institute (SANBI).


1. Celebration in Johannesburg

Date: Friday 08 February 2019 and Saturday 09 February 2019

Venue: Johannesburg Zoo, Parkview, Gauteng

2. Celebration in Pretoria

Date: Friday 1 March 2019 and Saturday 2 March 2019 and Sunday 3 March 2019

Venue: National Zoological Garden, Pretoria, Gauteng