New WHSRN Site in Chile: Humedales Orientales de Chilo??

Written by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

In January 2011, the WHSRN Hemispheric Council approved Humedales Orientales de Chiloé [Eastern Wetlands of Chiloé] as a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance. This wetland system is located on the Island of Chiloé, in southern Chile, in the Lake Region of Chiloé Province, and includes the Municipalities of Dalcahue, Quinchao, Curaco de Velez, and Castro. The area contains 10 wetlands—Curacao, Pullao, Chullec, Rilán, San Juan, Castro, Putemún, Teguel, Nercón and Quinchao—comprising a total of 1,900 hectares (4,695 acres).


Hudsonian Godwit. © Pablo Petracci

These wetlands support 40% of the world population of Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica), and provide important habitat for more than 2,000 Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus) from the Pacific coast population. Both species breed in North America and are of high conservation concern.

The area is under the administration of the Ministry of National Defense – Secretary of the Navy. Therefore, it is not possible to establish private property within the area. The site is managed by Admiral Ricardo Böke Friederichs, Director of Maritime Interests and Aquatic Environment, General Directorate of Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine-DIRECTEMAR (Chilean Navy).

The letter of institutional commitment, a criterion for WHSRN, was signed by Admiral Friederichs, accompanied by letters of commitment from the four mayors who have jurisdiction over the area. Additionally, a total of 30 letters were submitted from various public, private, and community institutions, along with adjacent property owners to the area—all in support of the WHSRN designation.

This designation is the result of work led by the Center for the Study and Conservation of Natural Heritage (CECPAN by its Spanish acronym), with the valuable support of various local, provincial, and regional stakeholders who, as a whole, made it possible to realize this important achievement for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats in Chiloé. Partners include municipalities, jurisdictional public service entities, and Regional government institutions, along with neighborhood associations, local groups, federations, schools, and educational establishments, among others.

For Diego Luna Quevedo, representing the WHSRN Executive Office in the Southern Cone, the designation “sets a great opportunity for new partnerships, resources, and tools for effective conservation of this globally important area. In addition to its valuable cultural heritage, the Island of Chiloé possesses a great wealth of biological diversity that could be a source of pride and focus for the development of local communities.”

During March 2011, partners will carry out a ceremony in the city of Castro, to formalize the designation with mayors, regional authorities, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, and local and international guests. Partners will also take this opportunity to launch the implementation of the “Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds in Chiloé.” The initiative was sponsored by a coalition of international organizations including The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Audubon Society, and the Shorebird Recovery Project of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. Partners in this coalition are working with their national and local counterparts in Chile, including the Ministry of Environment of Chile, the Government of the Región de los Lagos, local municipalities, CECPAN, and Conservación Marina.


Chiloé Island, southern Chile. Inset: Humedales Orientales de Chiloé WHSRN Site (green areas) / Courtesy of CECPAN

There are now 84 WHSRN sites in 13 countries, with partners conserving more than 12 million hectares (31 million acres) of key shorebird habitat. The Humedales Orientales de Chiloé is now the third WHSRN site in Chile, following Bahía Lomas (in Tierra del Fuego) and the Humedal del Río Lluta (in northern Chile). 

It’s our pleasure to give a warm welcome to our new partners at the Humedales Orientales de Chiloé WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance!


Reposted by WHSRN



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