Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary
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|Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary|
|Santuario Nacional Lagunas de Mejía|
Location within Peru
|Location||Mejía District, Arequipa, Peru|
|Area||690.6 hectares (1,707 acres)|
The Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary (Santuario Nacional Lagunas de Mejía) is a protected area in Peru on the coastal Mejía District in Arequipa, in the mouth of the Tambo River. It is now a sanctuary for migratory birds. In 1981 Mejia Lagoons were drained by Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture to convert the land to ricefields, letter-writing campaign to Peruvian government in protest, made by O.P. Pearson, M.P. Harris and R.A. Hughes among others, result in declaration of birds preserve area. The sanctuary was established on February 24, 1984, and is in the department of Arequipa, province of Islay, covering an area of 690.6 hectares (1,707 acres). The purpose of the sanctuary is to protect flora and fauna as well as to attract tourism.
One of the purposes of the refuge is to provide a sanctuary for migratory birds on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. This area provides food for birds like the sanderling (Calidris alba), and provides important habitat for birds like the Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chillness) which prefer to live in vegetated areas. Over 180 types of residential and migratory birds can be found in the park including:
- Grey gull (Larus modestus)
- Sanderling (Calidris alba)
- Black skimmer (Rinchops niger)
- Belcher's gull (Larus belcheri)
- Kelp gull (Larus dominicanus)
- Grey-headed gull (Larus cirrocephillus)
- White-tufted grebe (Rollandia rolland)
- Great grebe (Podiceps major)
- Yellow-billed teal (Anas flavirostris)
- White-cheeked pintail (Anas bahamensis)
- Cinnamon teal (Anas cyanopltero)
- Common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
- American coot (Fulico americana)
- Virginia rail (Rallus limicola)
- Cocoi heron (Ardea cocoi)
- Great egret (Egretta alba)
- Snowy egret (Egretta thula)
- Little blue heron (Egretta caerulea)
The sanctuary is also home to many other organisms such as the endangered Peru Coast Toad (Bufo limensis), the endemic tiger Pacific iguana (Microlophus tigris), and fish such as the Flathead grey mullet (Mugil cephalus).
In 2010, a study was done that shows degradation in 97.93 hectares of the sanctuary due to limited management. This has created decreases in biodiversity, especially with regards to birds. The publication goes on to state that hydrological connectivity must be restored within the sanctuary in order for it to keep providing important ecosystem services.
- "Lagunas De Mejía National Sanctuary". protectedplanet.net.
- Myers J.P. (1982). "Mejia Lagoon: gone, but perhaps not forever". Wader Study Group Bulletin. 35: 29.
- Alcántara, M. B., Jiménez, R., Bustamante, M., Castañeda M., Jiménez J. 2013. Conservation of the Meíja Lagoons National Sanctuary Through the Recovery of Wetland Connectivity and its Surroundings. Dirección General de Investigación e Información Ambiental. Memoria Segundo Encuentro de Investigadores Ambientales.
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