Argentina designates its 20th Wetland of International Importance
Palmar Yatay (21,450 ha; 31°52'S 58°19'W) is mainly composed of permanent and seasonal rivers, streams and creeks, permanent and seasonal freshwater marshes and pools and their surrounding lands.
Located in the border area between the Pampa and Espinal ecoregions, this site contains characteristic communities and habitats of both areas. Palmar Yatay provides support to animal species such as Falco Peregrinus (Appendix I of CITES), as well as species of 4 endemic fish families and 10 endemic plant species. It also sustains a significant proportion of native fish species like Dorado (Salminus brasiliensis) and wolf fish (Hoplias malabaricus).
As summarised by Sofia Mendez, Assistant Advisor for the Americas, the site includes the National Park El Palmar, which protects a large area of Yatay Palm trees (Syagrus yatay) and the Private Reserve La Aurora del Palmar. Both areas promote education, research and tourism activities. Main adverse factors to the wetland include invasive plant and animal species, the advancement of the agricultural frontier as well as direct threats to wildlife due to poaching and habitat loss. The area has a preliminary Management Plan for the National Park and a management committee with local representatives is currently being created.
Photo courtesy: Fernando Raffo