Key Paraguayan IBA being destroyed

By Guyra.Paraguay, Mon, 11/10/2010 - 10:00
Part of Asunción Bay Important Bird Area (IBA) is in the process of being destroyed by heavy machinery brought in to begin work on a new waterfront project in Paraguay’s capital city, despite the site being legally declared a Reserve in 2005. Guyra Paraguay (BirdLife Partner) has raised its objection to the destruction of this important site for migratory species that gives to Asunción’s city a unique value for wildlife. “For the first time in my environmental career in Paraguay I have seen the discrepancies between what is said and what is done by the Government. On one side, Asunción Bay is declared a reserve by Congress and we celebrated that, it was also declared an IBA and also on a Western Hemisphere Shore Bird Reserve Network site, but now a fantastic habitat for migratory bird species is being destroyed”, said Dr Alberto Yanosky, Chief Executive of Guyra Paraguay.

Asuncion Bay IBA: before and after

A total of 280 bird species has been recorded so far at Asunción Bay, including over 25 species of shorebird. Four species listed as Near Threatened and one as Vulnerable by BirdLife on behalf of the IUCN Red List, occur at the site. Work carried out by Guyra Paraguay has identified the importance of Asunción Bay as a stopover site with 3% of the global population of the Near Threatened Buff-breasted Sandpiper using it to refuel at on their migratory journey. “The environmental authorities doing almost nothing, the municipal authorities of Asunción are paying no attention and there is complete silence from all those authorities who were in favour of this important urban site for birds and people", said Dr Yanosky. "This is not going to discourage Guyra Paraguay staff to continue fighting, but what we will never forgive is the way in which some governmental officials are just bypassing the environmental national framework." "For the last two years we have been working with the Environmental Authority to propose the declaration of Asunción Bay as a Ramsar Site, I wonder what happened to the proposal which is waiting for the Minister's signature to be submitted to the Ramsar Authorities. If those environmental authorities involved do not defend the site and its legal status, then they will have to explain to the Paraguayan people about their irresponsibility”, concluded Dr Yanosky.

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Comments

Once this unique area is destroyed nobody can bring it back. It`s heritage and treasure of the your country. I wonder why people are so lazy and indifferent to their property. Wake up.....

PLEASE SAVE AND PROTECT FOR EVER Asunción Bay Important Bird Area (IBA) Alberto Meotti Milano, Italy

It is still a third world country, a pity money prevails again over nature!!!

I am very disturbed to read this posting. Critical stop-over sites for shorebirds/waders are under growing risk across the world. I visited Saemungum in South Korea before its destruction and the subsequent devastating impact on wader populations has been well documented. Now Bohai Bay in China is under threat - putting at risk two populations of Red Knot. Red Knot are also at risk through human interference in Delaware Bay. Can we not generate some public activism to call a halt to these destructive acts? It seems that the conservation and scientific communities are good at recording impacts, but not always so good at mobilising international public opinion in order to effect change for the better. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is a charismatic species for British birdwatchers, and I cannot imagine I am alone in wanting to express my concerns to those responsible. I have today written (text below) to the Ambassador of Paraguay to the UK and to Hugo Enrique Cañiza, Director of Environment, Municipality of Asunción to express my views. I am also asking Guyra Paragua whether there are any plans to mobilise public opinion. Can we bring together Wetlands International, the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Network, the International Wader Studies Group and Birdlife International to launch an appeal for this site to be saved? Quiet diplomacy and scientific research alone have proved insufficient to save many sites. Maybe we need to mobilise and organise together. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper deserves our support. I would really appreciate any updates from Alberto Yanosky. The WHSN entry for Asunción Bay is at http://www.whsrn.org/site-profile/bahia-de-asuncion Shane Enright (senright@blueyonder.co.uk) **** LETTER TO UK AMBASSADOR TO PARAGUAY His Excellency Mr. Miguel A. Solano-López Embassy of Paraguay 3rd Floor, 344 Kensington High Street London, W14 8NS 12 October 2010 Dear Ambassador, I am writing to you to express my grave concern about the destruction of Asunción Bay. Part of Asunción Bay Important Bird Area (IBA) is in the process of being destroyed by heavy machinery brought in to begin work on a new waterfront project in Paraguay’s capital city, despite the site being legally declared a Reserve in 2005 by your Congress. The site has also been declared a Western Hemisphere Shore Bird Reserve Network site, but now a fantastic habitat for migratory bird species is being destroyed. A total of 280 bird species has been recorded so far at Asunción Bay, including over 25 species of shorebird. Four species listed as Near Threatened and one as Vulnerable by BirdLife on behalf of the IUCN Red List, occur at the site. In particular, Asunción Bay has been identified as a stopover site of 3% of the global population of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper using it to refuel at on their migratory journey. This is a Near Threatened species, which breeds is arctic Canada and USA and winters in South America, and is the natural patrimony of many countries. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is a charismatic species to many UK birders, who will view the reclamation with great dismay. 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, and in just one week’s time governments will be coming together to assess progress on the Convention on Biological Diversity. I urge the Government of Paraguay to recognise the value of ecosystem services, including those provided by wetlands. In particular, there is great potential for ecotourism at the Asunción Bay Important Bird Area, due to its proximity to the city. This supposed “development” would be, in fact, a destruction of a national resource which could not easily be restored. It is not just migrating birds that are at risk – the reclamation also destroys the livelihoods of many poor people who depend on its resources to earn a living. I urge the Government of Paraguay and the municipal authorities to bring to a halt the destruction of this internationally valuable site, and for the Government to designate the Bay as a Ramsar Convention site (for which it qualifies) and to afford it the corresponding level of protection. I would appreciate it if you could forward this letter to the Minister of the Environment, and I would appreciate a response, from both yourself and the environmental authorities in Asunción. I am a member of the International Wader Studies Group and a supporter of BirdLife International, whose partner, Guyra Paraguay, have brought this tragic news to public attention. Yours sincerely Shane Enright

A Guyra Paraguay Creo que es inegable el trabajo que Guyra Paraguay esta haciendo en Paraguay y regionalmente desde hace un tiempo, levantando inclusive el respeto que en este pais se tiene sobre las ONGs. Me gustaria sugerirle al Dr. Yanosky la publicacion de todos los trabajos conjuntos y acuerdos que Guyra Paraguay tiene con instituciones nacionales e internacionales, de tal manera a revertir opiniones difundidas en los medios de prensa, de que esta ONG nunca hizo nada, especialmente sobre el area y el Banco San Miguel que se encuentran en cuestion.Deseo enviarles mi apoyo debido a que trabajo en el area de los animales salvajes en este pais y se cuan dificil es obtener resultados para la proteccion de los aniamles salvajes, incluso cuando son de importancia para la salud publica. Atte. Prof.Dr. Miriam Insfran Segovia Especialista en Medicina de los Animales Salvajes

Es una vergüenza que Paraguay siga al frente de la destrucción de los ambientes naturales más valiosos del mundo. Ya pasó con el Bosque Atlántico, uno de los lugares con mayor acumulación de especies únicas y amenazadas del mundo. El mejor lugar para la conservación del Bosque Atlántico todavía sin proteger, abandonando la responsabilidad de su conservación a las ONG! El Chaco Paraguayo con las mayores tasas de deforestación del mundo, poniendo en peligro la integridad de este hábitat tan especial, en la que además de su rica flora y fauna, existen pueblos indígenas a los que se les niega mantener su territorio ancestral. Ahora la Bahía de Asunción, demostrando que mientras no hubo otros intereses, se contentó a los pobres inocentes ciudadanos, pensando que Paraguay se estaba modernizando, dando el justo valor a sus recursos naturales, y haciendo perder el tiempo de todos, con figuras de protección que ahora se saltan sin sonrojarse. Qué vergüenza, me duele el corazón de pensar lo que está pasando en mi segunda patria. Alberto Madroño (socio fundador de Guyra Paraguay)

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