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.
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.