Honduras’ Laguna de Zambuco added to the Ramsar List
The government of Honduras has designated Sistema de Humedales Laguna de Zambuco (SH-LZ) (649 hectares, 15°47'54”N 087°13'23”W) as its ninth Wetland of International Importance, covering a total of 270,224 hectares. As summarized by Ramsar’s Sara Casallas, based upon the accompanying data sheets, the new Ramsar Site is characteristic of the estuarine systems found in northern Honduras and supports numerous threatened or endangered species such as the Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus) and the leatherback and Hawksbill sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea and Eretmochelys imbricata respectively), for which it provides nesting areas. It is rich in biodiversity and, to date, 59 species of plants, 34 of fish, 87 of birds (24 of which are migratory species), and 11 species of reptiles among others have been identified. In addition, the site supports numerous fish and crustacean species during their larval and juvenile stages, contributing to the maintenance of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef fisheries, and as it is located between two other Ramsar Sites (Parque Nacional Punta Izopo and Refugio de Vida Silvestre Cuero y Salado) it contributes to the creation of a Biological Corridor in northern Honduras.
The area is also important for the Garifuna people, one of the nine ethnic groups present in Honduras, who depend on the site for their livelihoods. The main threats to the ecological character are related to deforestation of mangroves, expansion of African Palm crops, and population growth.