Three new Ramsar sites in Mexico

19/09/2008



The Secretariat is pleased to announce that a further three Ramsar site designations have been finalized from amongst those that the government of Mexico announced on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2008. They are Humedales de Montaña La Kisst (36 hectares, 16°44’N 092°39’W) in Chiapas; Playa de Colola (287 hectares; 18°18’N 103°25’W), a turtle beach on the Pacific coast in Michoacán state; and El Estero La Manzanilla (264 hectares; 19°18’N 104°47’W), a productive mangrove estuary on the Jalisco coast. Summaries by Mila Llorens of the site information on all three can be found here.

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Humedales de Montaña La Kisst. 02/02/08; Chiapas; 36 ha, 16°44’N 092°39’W. Área Natural Protegida. A high altitude wetland (2,120m asl), important for humans as it captures, filters, stores and provides clean water; the springs found in the area are the primary supply of clean water to San Cristobal de las Casas. The site supports great populations of fish and amphibians, of which 10 have been identified as endemic or under a protection category, e.g., the endemic fish Profundulus hildebrandi and Ergaticus versicolor, both in danger of extinction. The Bearded Screech-Owl (Otus barbarus) is a threatened species, and subject to special protection are: the frog species Plectrohyla pycnochila and Eleutherodactylus glaucus. The site is also an important resting place for migratory birds. Among negative factors are the constant increase of the population and the unorganized spread of housing, which have caused the area to diminish in size and led to deforestation, and constant freshwater pumping has caused the depletion of water and the drying out of many parts of the wetland. Ramsar site no. 1787. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Estero La Manzanilla. 02/02/08; Jalisco; 264 ha; 19°18’N 104°47’W. An estuarine system located in Tenacatita Bay, one of the five most important bays of Mexico’s Pacific coast, surrounded by large clusters of mangrove in good condition, including Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa, and Conocarpus erectus. A variety of flora and fauna species are also found, e.g., the site is one of the three areas with large populations of the American crocodile (Cocodrylus acutus). The estuary is essential for the reproduction of several species of aquatic animals and holds the largest reproductive colony of Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) in the area. 55 different species of aquatic birds have been identified, and 42 different species of fish, of 10 different orders and 21 families, use this area as feeding ground. Since 1970, human activities such as urban growth and deforestation have caused a negative impact on the estuary, including the construction of a paved coastal road which has had negative impacts to the mangroves and limited the flow of water to the estuary. Ramsar site no. 1789. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Playa de Colola. 02/02/08; Michoacán; 287 ha; 18°18’N 103°25’W. Área Natural Protegida Federal ‘Santuario’. About 5 km of sandy beaches, with 150m width, surrounded by different types of shrubs, located in western central region of Mexico. The beach is highly significant as a major nesting site for three marine turtles found under IUCN, national, and CITES Appendix I protection categories: the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and the Green Turtle (Chelonia agassizii). It is estimated that about 70% of the population of the Green Turtle comes to this beach to nest and breed in the waters near the beach. The turtles are exposed to dangers caused by humans since the nesting females can be easily caught. The eggs are extracted by the locals for personal consumption, or can be extracted by animals digging through the nests. Another situation in which the turtles are endangered is during the reproductive interactions, which take place near the beach at sea – males and females are then vulnerable to illegal capture and distribution by coastal fishing vessels. Causes that negatively affect the site are due to unorganized population increase of Colola, which compromises the habitat where the turtles lay their eggs. Tourism activities are also increasing, which if unmonitored can cause additional disturbances to nesting females and the site itself. The beach is part of a Federal Protected Area under the “Sanctuary” category. Ramsar site no. 1788. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

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