World Wetlands Day 2001: Colombia

14/02/2001
panda.gif (879 bytes) WWF Colombia
Oficina de Programa
Carrera 35 No. 4A-25 San Fernando
Santiago de Cali
Colombia
Tel + 57 (2) 558 25 77
Fax + 57 (2) 558 25 88
jmfernandez@wwf.org.co
info@wwf.org.co

www.panda.org
Boletín de Prensa 2 de febrero 2001

La Cocha: new Ramsar site in Colombia

WWF Colombia, Program Office, (World Wildlife Fund) expresses its joy and satisfaction for the declaration of La Cocha Lagoon as a wetland of international importance through the Ramsar Convention. WWF CPO worked with the Colombian Ministry of Environment and other organization in a 2-year process towards to include the Lagoon and its paramos into the Convention of Wetlands. This is the second Ramsar site in Colombia after the Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta, designated in 1998.

As a result of this recognition, on World Wetlands Day (2nd of February), the mayor’s office of Pasto (City in the south of Colombia), realized an event in La Cocha Lagoon. An interinstitutional committee coordinated the celebration that presented exhibits and conferences related to the theme of wetlands. The convention for the event was open and participatory with the objective of involving the entire community, especially the people from the region that had been linked to the declaration process of the wetland.

Parallely, the Ministry of Environment celebrated World Wetlands Day in Bogotá, with presentations and conferences. Wetlands management experiences from some regional corporations were included in these presentations.

WWF CPO participated in both events promoting the importance of work in wetlands. Also, WWF CPO recognized the work of various organizations that are supporting the declaration of Ramsar sites in the country. Mary Louise Higgins, WWF CPO Country Representative said: "This declaration, besides emphasizing the biological importance of this particular wetland, implies a series of commitments to conservation and sustainable development in favor of social, economic and environmental needs of the region and its inhabitants."

La Cocha, situated in the Nariño province near the Ecuador border, is one of the most extensive and well conserved lagoons of the Northern Andes. La Cocha is approximately 13 km long and 6 km wide and is 2700 meters above sea level. The island of La Corota, in the lagoon, was declared a fauna and flora sanctuary in 1977.

The lagoon and its paramos are home to mammals such as the Spectacle Bear, the Mountain Tapir, and the Andean Wolf, species that are close to extinction. Although, it is possible to find birds like the Real Mountain Eagle and the Golden Peak Duck, the region also holds an outstanding diversity of Flora.

 For more information:
Ximena Barrera, Environmental Policy Officer : xbarrera@wwf.org.co
julio mario fernández, Communications Officer: jmfernandez@wwf.org.co

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