Panama has designated its 5th Wetland of International Importance
As summarized by Sofia Méndez Castillo, Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for the Americas, the site has high biological value as it sustains an ample diversity of flora and fauna because of its various habitats. The area is an important nesting site for turtles such as the critically endangered Carey (Eretmochelys imbricata) and it sustains species in CITES’ appendices I and II and IUCN Red List such as Manatee (Trichechus manatus), Howling monkeys (Aloutta palliata), Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and Green turtle (Chelonia mydas).
The area also provides livelihoods for the nomad Ngobe y Buglé ethnic groups, among Panama’s most ancient tribes, and it is considered to have high ethno- and eco-touristic potential. Among its main threats, the wetland faces deforestation, inappropriate agricultural practices, subsistence hunting, overexploitation of marine resources, mining, and pollution of its catchment. In response, a management plan has been proposed for the site. The site was designated a national protected area in 2004 under the category Wetland of International Importance.
Currently, the List of Wetlands of International Importance records a total number of 1888 designated sites with a total surface area of 185,272,001 hectares.