Dominican Republic names a wildlife refuge
The Dominican Republic, which joined the Convention in 2002, designates the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Laguna Cabral o Rincón (4,600 ha; 18°16’N 071°15’W) as its second Wetland of International Importance. This Ramsar Site located in Barahona and Independencia includes a freshwater lagoon, permanent and stationary rivers and inundated agricultural areas within the Laguna Cabral o Rincon Wildlife Refuge.
As summarised by Sofia Méndez Castillo, the site provides habitat for species listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List such as the West Indian Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arborea) and the Southern crested toad (Bufo guentheri). It has an important population of endemic plants (Solanum microphyllum), fish (Hispaniolan Gambusia) and birds such as the Hispaniolan Parrot (Amazona ventralis). The site is also important as a winter stop for migratory ducks where they have registered over 100,000 individual of different species like Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris), Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), White cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis) among others.
Main threats for this site include the hydrological changes caused by the water extraction and deviation for irrigation purposes, the introduction of invasive species and the overexploitation of fisheries. This Ramsar Site has an annual operational plan for its management activities and a management plan is currently being developed.
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