Viet Nam's fifth Ramsar Site
The government of Viet Nam has named the Mui Ca Mau National Park (41,862 hectares, 08°41'00"N 104°47'32"E) as its fifth Wetland of International Importance. As summarized by Ramsar's Nessrine Alzahlawi from the accompanying Ramsar Information Sheet, the new site, already a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2009, is situated at the southernmost tip of the country and supports the largest remaining area of mangrove forests (13,400 ha) and intertidal mudflats (26,000 ha) in the Ca Mau Peninsula as well as the Indochina Mangroves biogeographic region.
Originally, the site held some 1.6 million hectares of natural wetlands but the vast majority of the mangrove was destroyed during the Vietnam War and, later, by conversion to aquacultural ponds and agricultural land. Rehabilitation efforts began in the late 1990s as a result of the decline in shrimp production and the later establishment of Mui Ca Mau National Park. Most of the aquacultural ponds inside the park have been abandoned and now support extensive areas of re-colonising mangrove forest.
It is the only place in the country where two different tidal regimes interact, which contributes to the aggradation that is building new mud-flats and creating favourable habitats for many species, such as the critically endangered Four-toed Terrapin Batagur baska, the endangered Hairy Nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana and the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor. The site also provides important stopover and wintering habitats for a large number of waterbirds and includes two BirdLife International Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
Viet Nam's five Ramsar Sites cover an area of 84,982 hectares.