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Portraits of the two Sidis

Posted 17.10.2011 - View comments

Sidi Ely, project champion and Sidi Cheikh, the Park’s geomatician, both live and work in Iwik, the Imraguen village of 160 inhabitants located in the heart of the Banc d'Arguin. Together, they invest their time and energy to the preservation and promotion of their natural heritage.

Sidi Ely was born under the burning sun of Iwik but studied oceanography in the polar climate of Murmansk in Russia. After ten years of study, Sidi Ely returned to his native village armed with expertise and experience, dedicating himself to the environment, including "the beauty and tranquility of nature in the Park, which is “my heart”."Manager of the Park’s first ecotourism camp, Sidi Ely is always in search of clean technologies to meet the growing demands of tourists. Equipped with LED headlamps and the empty cans with a few solar panels, for example, he constructs the camp’s night lighting. Once a month, he also organizes beach cleanings, collecting the waste rejected by the sea. "At first, when they saw me cleaning the beach alone, my Imraguen brothers thought I was crazy, acting like a foreigner because of my stay in Murmansk! But after a while, when they saw the tourists came to my camp to help me, they said that if cleaning the beach was important for people from so far away, then it should be even more so for people living here Iwik!"

He shares this love and commitment to the exceptional setting of Iwik with Sidi Cheikh, the geomatician at the PNBA observatory since 2007. Sidi Cheikh is full of praise for the beauty of the Park: "The Park with its beautiful birds and amazing landscapes! It is the greatness of natural monuments forged over time in the days and nights of the wind and changing seasons. "His work includes helping park managers organize and apply the spatial data collected in the field. He leads missions to collect data or facilitate research work, always with the active participation of the villagers. Like Sidi Ely, he considers the birds one of the greatest assets of the Park: "I've always been fascinated by the organization and manner of bird life. It is important to realize that millions of birds make a regular trip from very distant areas to get here! I always wonder how these birds are guided and how they behave once they arrive at their destination."

Both men are fathers, even if, as Sidi Ely states, they consider "all the children of Iwik their own". They decided to join forces to construct two bird observatories, to reach out to, in addition to tourists, the young people of Iwik. For Sidi Ely, "the youth of our village are the guardians of the PNBA tomorrow. I want them to know more about their environment and the different species of birds. "This is a statement shared by Sidi Cheikh: "It is clear that children today are less attached than their ancestors who were much closer to their environment."

Join the mission of both Sidis ... for the millions of young birds and the Banc d'Arguin!