The Ramsar Bureau is delighted to announce that, effective 11 July 2002, Bolivia has designated its 8th Wetland of International Importance. "Lagos Poopó y Uru Uru" (Oruro department, 967,607 ha, 18°46'S 63°13'W), a National Ecological Reserve, are two associated brackish lakes at over 3,600m altitude which fulfil all eight of the Ramsar Criteria and are excellent representatives of the high-altitude Andean wetlands of the Puna ecoregion. Some 76 species of birds have been reported for the site, including about 120,000 individuals of flamingos Phoenicopterus chilensis, Phoenicoparrus andinus, and Phoenicoparrus jamesi. Endemic and endangered fauna and flora, such as vicuña and pumas, are supported, as well as the cactus Opuntia and Trichocereus. Two pre-Hispanic cultures, the Aymaras and Urus, the latter believed to be one of the oldest ethnic groups on the continent, dating from 2000-1500 before the common era, are present in the area and practice subsistence agriculture and fishing, with some mining and limited grazing and illegal bird hunting also in evidence.
Hectares sweepstakes. In terms of total area, Bolivia (6,471,995 ha) has now passed Brazil into 5th position in total Ramsar hectarage, behind Canada, the Russian Federation, Botswana, and Peru. There are presently 1180 Ramsar sites, covering 103,250,356 hectares, brought by the 133 Contracting Parties under the Ramsar designation. [30/07/02]