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IBA News: Panama Bay Decision

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From the Birding Community E-bulletin, February 2014:


The struggle to preserve Panama Bay as an Important Bird Area (IBA) has previously appeared in the E-bulletin in January 2013


   and May 2013



Last month, the Panama Supreme Court issued a long-awaited final decision on protection for the Bay of Panama. The court formally reinstated the protected status for the Bay of Panama wetlands, officially removing the temporary suspension it had placed on the protected area in April 2012. That 2012 move was viewed as a decision driven by pressure for urban and resort developments.


The Bay of Panama is used every year by over a million shorebirds on their way south after breeding in the North American Arctic. Consequently, the bay is a crucial stopover and wintering area for the Americas, with the habitat being used by more than 30 percent of the global population of Western Sandpipers and 22 percent of the global population of Whimbrels.


The Bay of Panama's extensive mangrove forests also play a vital role in supporting fisheries, filtering pollutants in urban and agricultural runoff, and protecting Panama City from floods.


Besides its status as an IBA, the bay was also declared a Ramsar site (Wetland of International Importance) in 2003, and it was included in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) in 2005. In 2009, over 80,000 hectares of the Panama Bay Wetland had become a National Protected Area.


"Good use of environmental law and scientific studies, and the help of our local and international partners have influenced the final decision of the court", said Rosabel Miro, Executive Director of Panama Audubon Society.


You can find more details from BirdLife International here: ,:



For additional information about worldwide IBA programs, including those in the U.S., check the National Audubon Society's Important Bird Area program web site at:


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