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Panama Preservation

Panama Bay IBA joins Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

The Upper Bay of Panama is the first site in Central America to join the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), a partnership of organisations working to protect shorebirds and their habitats through a network of key sites across the Americas. Because of its importance to migratory birds, BirdLife identified the bay as an Important Bird Area (IBA) in 2003. It is also on the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance.

Every year, the Upper Bay of Panama is visited by as many as 2 million shorebirds travelling between North and South America via the Isthmus of Panama. Counts of shorebirds along the Panama coast at times exceed 10,000 per kilometer. The site is used by more than 30 percent of the world female population of Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri, and is globally important for at least six other shorebird species. Based on these high migratory bird counts, the area has been recognized as a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance.

Shorebirds are threatened by many factors, including habitat destruction, pollution and human disturbance. More than a quarter of all North America's shorebird species and subspecies are in serious decline, according to WHSRN. Some, such as the New World race of Red Knot Calidris canutus, will become extinct within present lifetimes if current trends are not halted.To protect shorebirds and their habitats, WHSRN works with over 200 partner organizations across the Hemisphere. In Panama, the organising partners are ANAM (the National Environmental Authority of Panama), and the Panama Audubon Society (PAS, BirdLife partner in Panama).

”The Bay of Panama is a critical site for migratory shorebirds” said Rosabel Miró, President of the Panama Audubon Society “For the past seven years, the Panama Audubon Society has been working to preserve the wetlands of the Upper Bay of Panama. The Bay of Panama, which is the first site in Central America to be part of the WHSRN network, is a critical site for migratory shorebirds. Preserving this annual spectacle can only be done through international cooperation, an increasingly obvious requirement for protecting the world’s ecosystems.

4th July 2014