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Scharhörn,, Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, Germany
The Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park (German: Hamburgisches Wattenmeer) is an exclave of the city state of Hamburg in North Germany and lies 12.5 km off Cuxhaven in the estuary of the Elbe in the North Sea (German Bight). This part of the Wadden Sea lies inside the area of the Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park and also includes the islands of Neuwerk, Scharhörn and Nigehörn. It is made up mainly of sand and mixed mudflats with shallow creeks, sand bars (Plaaten) and the aforementioned dune islands. The park was established in 1990 and expanded in 2001 into a total area of (Zones 1 and 2) 13,750 hectares. The Zone 1 areas are under special protection. Thus, for example mudflat hiking and horse and carriage rides are only permitted on designated routes.
Within the national park there are about 2,000 species of animal, of which about 250 only occur in the salt marshes of the Wadden Sea. Of particular note are the Common Seal and the Gray Seal. Due to the natural influx of sediment, there is a high concentration of food for young fish and seabirds at the mouth of the Elbe. The national park is therefore an important resting and moulting area for seabirds.