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Lake Chad: A Vital Ecosystem and Historic Hub of Civilization

Lake Chad is made up of 17,000 square kilometers of fresh water located at the midpoint of dunes that stretch across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Lake Chad has a rich history, but scientists say that the lake's water level changes based on rain and dry seasons, and its habitat surroundings are changing.

The ecosystem in Lake Chad has a variety of open waters, some permanent and others temporary. These bodies of water contain helpful nutrients that sustain the biodiversity in the lake. Many animals, such as hippopotamuses, Nile crocodiles, tortoises, sea turtles, otters, a few native birds, migratory birds, and about 120 types of fish all call Lake Chad home.

Historically, Lake Chad was settled around 500 BC at the earliest. The ancient Sao civilization had a deep history and connection to Lake Chad. Their history traces back to the Paleolithic age and it is believed that the Sao civilization came to Lake Chad from the Nile valley around the fifth century. The Sao civilization, one of the oldest known, left remains of architecture, showing that they lived by fishing and farming, and were very creative people.

Throughout history, Lake Chad was also a hub for cultural and trading exchange. Lake Chad is a place with a variety of ecosystems, which have helped various civilizations survive.

[Source: UNESCO World Heritage Convention; BBC News; Middle East Monitor]

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