With the help of BirdLife International, on February 18th and 19th, SalvaNATURA held the 2nd Central American Aquatic Bird Census, registering 67 species, of which 6 are considered Critically Endangered in the Official List of Endangered Species at the national level.
The census took place with the participation of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) and El Salvador Partners in Flight (PIF-SV). Simultaneously, the VI Shorebird Count was carried out with the objective of identifying species and the behavior of shorebird and aquatic migratory and resident populations distributed in wetlands and along the coast of the country.
Groups of ornithologists observed species in 14 sites located along the Salvadorian coast, including the following Important Bird Areas:
- Barra de Santiago (IBA SV001)
- Jiquilisco – Jaltepeque (IBA SV014)
- Volcán de San Miguel – Laguna El Jocotal (IBA SV015)
Other sites visited were:
- Las Bocanitas, San Diego, Los Pinos y Toluca Beaches (La Libertad)
- Río Jiboa Rivermouth, and La Pita y Guadalupe La Zorra – San Luis La Herradura Wetlands (La Paz)
- Handal Salt Flat- Parada Port (Usulután)
- La Punta El Tamarindo Rivermouth and Maculiz Salt Flat (La Unión)
Some of the species identified were the Black Skimmer Rynchops niger, resident – migratory species– listed as critically endangered. The endangered species found were Wilson’s Plover Charadrius wilsonia, Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja y Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, among others.
According to Carlos Funes, the SalvaNATURA Shorebird Census Coordinator, “Through this activity the ornithologists were able to observe diverse factors that affect this group of birds including: extensive agriculture, depredation of mangroves for the extraction of firewood, mass tourism, extraction of water for irrigation, and the filling of wetlands.”
The Executive Director of SalvaNATURA, Alvaro Moises, valued the support of BirdLife International for this and other activities such as the financing provided by Canadian Wildlife Service for the development of the census. He also commented that, “By being part of BirdLife International, SalvaNATURA affirms its commitment to biodiversity conservation in general and of birds in particular.”
On the other hand, the Director of SalvaECOSISTEMAS, Marta Lilian Quezada, explained the importance of these scientific activities. “They generate knowledge about the state of aquatic bird populations and their habitats in order to be able to design strategies and more effective actions for the conservation of flora, fauna, and threatened ecosystems”, commented Quezada.
In addition, Quezada observed that SalvaNATURA is part of the Mangrove Alliance, an initiative of Birdlife International and its network members, which focuses on the conservation and sustainable management of Neotropical mangrove ecosystems. She emphasized that, “With this we reaffirm our commitment to the conservation and restoration of those ecosystems that support livelihoods for coastal communities in the country; they are key to local development and habitat for bird fauna.”