Snowy Egret (美洲雪鷺)
5th June, 2015. Punta del Este
The spotlight will shine on Uruguay's spectacular Bañados del Este y Franja Costera wetland when it hosts the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP12) in Punta del Este between 1-9 June.
The Bañados del Este y Franja Costera wetland is located on the eastern side of Uruguay, sharing a border with Brazil and taking in some of the country’s South Atlantic coast. An internationally recognised biosphere reserve, it comprises a vast complex of coastal wetlands, including various lagoons and parts of rivers. Altogether, these form a rich habitat for an assortment of wildlife, including myriad species that are categorised as near-threatened or endangered – one notable example is the juvenile green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Bañados del Este y Franja Costera was added to the Montreux Record, the register for wetlands where ecological changes have occurred or are occurring because of human interference, in July 1990. The area had already been designated as a wetland of international significance in 1984, thereby coming under the auspices of the Convention on Wetlands (or Ramsar Convention) which is committed to the conservation of vulnerable wetlands while achieving sustainable development by delivering a framework action at local and global levels.
The Bañados del Este y Franja Costera wetland is situated in the departments of Rocha and Treinta y Tres in eastern Uruguay (its coordinates are: 33°48'S 053°50'W). The site covers an approximate area of some 407,408 hectares. Many of the country’s rivers flow east toward the Atlantic and empty into lagoons in the coastal plain – the largest of these is Laguna Merin, Uruguay’s easternmost destination and part of the reserve.