Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary

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Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary
Santuario Nacional Lagunas de Mejía
Map showing the location of Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary
Map showing the location of Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary
Location within Peru
Location Mejía District, Arequipa, Peru
Coordinates 17°08′49″S 71°51′47″W / 17.147°S 71.863°W / -17.147; -71.863Coordinates: 17°08′49″S 71°51′47″W / 17.147°S 71.863°W / -17.147; -71.863[1]
Area 690.6 hectares (1,707 acres)
Established 1984

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.[2] 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:

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.[3]


  1. ^ "Lagunas De Mejía National Sanctuary". 
  2. ^ Myers J.P. (1982). "Mejia Lagoon: gone, but perhaps not forever". Wader Study Group Bulletin. 35: 29. 
  3. ^ 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.