The Annotated Ramsar List: Panama


The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Panama on 26 November 1990. Panama presently has 5 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 183,992 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Bahía de Panamá. 20/10/03. Panamá. 48,919 ha. 08°57'N 079°01'W. Located to the east of Panama City on the the Pacific coast, the site features broad intertidal mudflats divided by several estuaries, mangrove forests, swamp forests, and freshwater pools. It is renowned as an important stopover for migrating shorebirds: up to 360,000 individuals have been counted in one season and it is estimated that 1-2 million birds stop there during migration. The site harbours over 8% of the world population of Western Sandpipers Calidris mauri with records of over 280,000 birds, 20% of Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus, and over 1% of the biogeographical populations of Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla, Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus, Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus and Grey or Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola. Endangered species in the area include the Giant Anteater Myrmecophaga tridactyla, Baird's Tapir Tapirus bairdii, American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus, Loggerhead Turtle Caretta caretta and the endemic tree species Annona spreguei. Fishing and agriculture are the main human activities in the area, but due to its proximity to Panama City, pressures from urban development are increasing, as well as pollution from sewage waters discharged into the sea. Several research activities with shorebirds have taken place, and the site was recently declared an Important Bird Area. Ramsar site no. 1319. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Golfo de Montijo. 26/11/90; Veraguas; 80,765 ha; 07º45’N 081º07’W. An extensive complex of coastal wetlands, estuarine waters, beaches, several species of mangroves, marshes, seasonally flooded grassland, irrigated agricultural land, and rice fields. The area supports an important traditional fishery, numerous species of nesting and wintering waterbirds, various mammals and reptiles. Human activities include hunting and mangrove felling. Ramsar site no. 510. Most recent RIS information: 1990.

Humedal de Importancia Internacional Damani-Guariviara. 09/03/10; Comarca Ngöble Buglé; 24,089 ha; 08º56’N 081º44’W. National protected area. The Damani-Guariviara wetland lies within the Neotropical-Caribbean biogeographical region and includes coastal and inland wetlands such as beaches, marshes, salty and freshwater lagoons, rivers and mangroves. Because of its various habitats, the site has high biological value as it sustains an ample diversity of flora and fauna. The area is an important nesting site for turtles such as the critically endangered Carey (Eretmochelys imbricata) and it sustains species in CITES’ appendices I and II and IUCN Red List such as Manatee (Trichechus manatus), Howling monkeys (Aloutta palliata), Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and Green turtle (Chelonia mydas). The area also provides livelihoods for the nomad Ngobe y Buglé ethnic groups, among Panama’s most ancient tribes, and it is considered to have high ethno- and eco-touristic potential. Among its main threats, the wetland faces deforestation, inappropriate agricultural practices, subsistence hunting, overexploitation of marine resources, mining, and pollution of its catchment. In response, a management plan has been proposed for the site. The site was designated a national protected area in 2004 under the category Wetland of International Importance. Ramsar site no. 1907. Most recent RIS information: 2010.

Punta Patiño. 13/10/93; Darién; 13,805 ha; 08º18’N 078º14’W. Private Nature Reserve. A littoral plain subject to tidal flooding, consisting of three types of tropical coastal-marine habitat: beaches, reefs, and an estuarine system with mangroves and "albinas" (crusty salt formations at dessicated pools). Numerous migratory and resident seabirds, including a large number of Pelecanus spp. (during the rainy season) occupy the site. There are 19 endangered and protected species occurring, consisting of reptiles, birds and mammals. Human activities include commercial and subsistence fishing, tourism, an environmental education programme, and an agroforestry project. Ramsar site no. 630. Most recent RIS information: 1993.

San San-Pond Sak. 09/06/93; Bocas del Toro; 16,414 ha; 09º24’N 082º57’W. An aggregation of channels, shallow, brackish and freshwater lakes in the lower basin of two rivers. The site, bordering Costa Rica, includes coastal plains, bays, sand bars, and beaches. Vegetation consists of mangroves and peat bogs. The wetlands recharge aquifers which provide water for 56,000 inhabitants and irrigate banana plantations. The site provides important habitat for 133 species of birds, of which 36 are endangered; 55 species of mammals, 24 endangered; seven endangered reptiles of the 54 occurring; and 20 amphibian species. Human activities include ranching, timber harvesting, subsistence agriculture, pig raising, fishing, and hunting. Ramsar site no. 611. Most recent RIS information: 1993.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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