Ecuador names 2 new Ramsar sites for World Wetlands Day 2002

22/01/2002


Ecuador names 2 new Wetlands of International Importance

The Bureau is delighted to announce that the Government of Ecuador has designated two new Wetlands of International Importance, effective 2 February 2002 and to be officially announced on World Wetlands Day. Here are brief descriptions.

Refugio de Vida Silvestre Isla Santa Clara in the Provincia de El Oro (46 hectares, 03º10'S 080º 26'W) is a small island with rocky shores in the Gulf of Guayaquil, forming a complex transitional marine/coastal system situated in an area of convergence of marine currents and the fresh water of the Gulf, an important area of mixed and transitional biogeographical characterics. The island is an undeveloped area of extraordinary importance for the conservation of waterbirds and constitutes a major refuge for the marine biodiversity of the continental coast of the country, for which reason it was inscribed as a Protected Area of Natural Heritage in 1999. Its outstanding feature is the large-scale presence of avifauna, 23,000 individuals of the species Fragatas or Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), and Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxi. The site holds exceptional social and cultural value and is considered from archaeological artifacts to be an early refuge of the first inhabitants of the larger Isla Puná, and a point of reference for navigators since the prehistoric era. It provides a unique opportunity for scientific investigations of marine-terrestrial ecosystems. Artisanal and industrial fishing are supported in the area. The Fundación Natura and the Ministry of Environment have compiled the technical datasheets for the site designation with the support of the WWF Living Waters Programme. Ramsar site no. 1142.

The Laguna de Cube in the Provincia de Esmeraldas (113 hectares, 00°24'N 079°39' W), an Ecological Reserve, is a permanent lake at the southeastern edge of the Mache-Chindul mountains in the Chaco biogeographical region, characterized by a lacustrine ecosystem consisting of permanent body of water and an extensive surface of marsh and flood areas. It is the country's only inland wetland in the coastal mountains, at 350m altitude, and supports a singular biotic community characteristic of both the Chaco and the Andes. The site is located in a large dale surrounded by hills of natural and seminatural landscape, with open, lightly wooded fields in the lower parts and more and less dense woodlands higher up. Small areas of subsistence pasturage and agriculture are found around the lake. Some 23 species of mammals, 40 of birds, and 11 of reptiles are found there, and three of its vertebrate species are found in the CITES Appendix II. An important group of settlements along the shores have taken the decision to manage the wetland in such a way as to ensure its conservation, and the lake is part of the Ecological Reserve Mache-Chindul. The Fundación Natura and the Ministry of Environment have compiled the technical datasheets for the site designation with the support of the WWF Living Waters Programme, as with the management plan. Ramsar site no. 1143.

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