The government of Colombia has designated Sistema Lacustre de Chingaza (4,058 hectares, 04°30’N 073°45’W), part of the Chingaza National Natural Park in the central highlands, as its fourth Wetland of International Importance. As described by Mila Llorens, based on the RIS data, the site is a complex of lagoons and wetlands that supply water to the capital city, Bogotá. Located in the Northern Colombian Andes between 3,050 and 3,950m a.s.l., this region supports one of the dampest páramos of the country and is a center of particular endemism which has been the refuge for more than 400 flora species and 500 fauna species, some of them endangered and others which have not yet been totally identified. The complex is formed by 20 lagoons and is of great importance for migratory birds. Among the species found under special protection, at national as well as international levels, the following mammals are noteworthy: Tremactus ornatus, Mazama rufina bricenni, Tapirus pinchaque and Tapirus terrestris, and among the flora: Espeletia grandiflora, Podocarpus oleifolius, and the palm genus Xeroxilum. The high andean lakes also have great pre-colombian ceremonial significance.
Colombia’s designation of this important new Ramsar site was assisted by the NGO Fundepáramos, with financial support from the IUCN National Committee of The Netherlands, and by the staff of the Chingaza National Park. [18/07/08]