Bolivia designates world’s largest protected wetland

Protected wetland

Río Yata Ramsar Site. Photo by Omar Rocha/WWF

To help mark World Wetland Day, Bolivia has created the world’s largest protected wetland. At more than 17 million acres, the Llanos de Moxos wetland is located in northern Bolivia along its borders with Peru and Brazil. Traversed by 3 major rivers that eventually become the Madeira River, the Llanos de Moxos is a tropical savanna and major tributary of the Amazon River. The announcement of its protected status was done by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Bolivia’s action to safeguard this large wetland helps ensure the continued health of not only the Amazon River, but of its rich natural diversity. The Llanos de Moxos wetland is home to the giant river otter, Bolivian river dolphin, and the critically endangered Blue-throated macaw. Llanos de Moxos is also home to 625 species of fish, including Mesonauta festivus (flag cichlid), Cichlasoma boliviense and Symphysodon (Discus) species. This newly protected wetland will help protect these and many other species.

In upcoming blogs I plan to include more information about changes that have been occurring in the Amazon River Basin. Stress from dam construction and weather changes have created new pressures on the Amazon River, the forest and all its inhabitants.

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