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Question: Describe the biotic and abiotic factors, habitat, the vegetation and wildlife that can be found in Smangaliso wetland park
iSimangaliso Wetland Park, located in South Africa, is a diverse and rich ecosystem that's home to many different forms of both biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) factors. The park, which covers a whopping 332,000 hectares, is the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Biotic factors in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park include a variety of both plant and animal species. The park boasts over 2000 species of plants, which make up the predominantly grassland and wooded vegetation. Some of its iconic plants include forest coastal dune, mangrove species and reef vegetation. The animal biodiversity is equally impressive with over 526 bird species. The park is home to the largest population of nesting loggerhead and leatherback turtles in Africa. Additionally, it enjoys a variety of mammals including, Africa's Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo), dolphins and whales. Abiotic factors that influence the park include its climate, which stays relatively warm throughout the year. The park, located on the eastern shore, receives over 1000mm of rainfall each year, mainly from October to March. It has a wide array of geological factors ranging from coral reefs to sand dunes and wetland estuaries. The habitat of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is exceptionally diverse, incorporating a range of ecosystems from marine (like the Indian Ocean seaboard) to coastal and wetland to dry savannah. These habitats offer the perfect conditions for the varied species and diverse vegetation existing within the park. Water plays a vital role in the park as well, given its lakes like Lake St Lucia, which is Africa's largest estuarine system. These aquatic features provide crucial habitats for many plant and animal species, and influence the park's climate, as water can moderate temperatures and influence rainfall patterns.
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