Mexico Designates 122nd and 123rd Ramsar Sites

27 July 2011: The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) has reported that the Government of Mexico has designated El Jagüey, in "Buenavista de Peñuelas," and Lago de Chapala as Wetlands of International Importance, bringing its total number of Ramsar Sites to 123, the second highest number in any country.

El Jagüey, in "Buenavista de Peñuelas," features six seasonal freshwater and two artificial ponds that support eight species of amphibians (four of them endemic to Mexico), five species of invertebrates endemic to the wetland, and the only known viable breeding population in the world of the endangered species Smilisca dentata (Upland Burrowing Treefrog).

Lago de Chapala, in the western part of Mexico, is the largest lake in the country. It serves as an area of refuge, feeding, hibernation and breeding for birds, and supports endemic species and endangered bird species and mammals. The lake also is vitally important to the surrounding communities, according to Ramsar, including as the largest water source in the country and as a source of employment for local people, who benefit mainly from fishing and tourism.

Mexico's designations, which were made on the occasion of World Wetland Day, on 2 February 2011, contribute to one of the goals contained in the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. [Ramsar Press Release]