Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

WHSRNews Update

Banco dos Cajuais, Brazil, designated as WHSRN’s 98th site

Recently, the WHSRN Hemispheric Council voted unanimously to approve the designation of Banco dos Cajuais, Ceará State, Brazil, as a site of Regional Importance within the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN).

Banco dos Cajuais is a coastal wetland site comprising 73,353 hectares (181,259 acres) on the northeastern coast of Brazil, within the municipality of Icapuí. The site includes extensive tidal mudflats, in addition to beachfront, coastal scrub, mangroves and a mosaic of salt flat mixed with ponds for salt extraction and shrimp farming. The core of the new WHSRN site are two existing and one proposed Environmental Protected Areas, which fall under the responsibility of the municipality of Icapuí. In the case of these particular Environmental Protected Areas, activities within are limited to so-called “sustainable” uses that should be coordinated with the local authorities.

The site was designated primarily due to its importance for the rufa subspecies of Red Knot (Calidris canutus) – qualifying at the “regional” importance level (holding more than 1% of the subspecies’ population). This population has suffered steep declines in the last two decades and is listed as Critically Endangered in Brazil, and as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. The site also holds large numbers of Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus griseusrepresenting at least 1% of the subspecies’ population, which is also considered as Critically Endangered at the national level in Brazil.

The nomination of this new WHSRN site was made possible by the commitment and coordinated efforts between the non-governmental organization AQUASIS (Associação de Pesquisa e Preservação de Ecossistemas Aquáticos) and the Secretary of Development and Environment for the Municipality of Icapuí (Secretaria de Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente – SEDEMA – de Icapuí). Jason Mobley, AQUASIS Migratory Birds Program Coordinator commented “Formal recognition of the Banco dos Cajuais as an important site for shorebirds is a result of more than a decade of careful observations by many current and former AQUASIS staff or associates. WHSRN provides new leverage for continuing our shorebird conservation process here and working to reclaim, restore and protect important foraging and roosting habitat.”

Support for the nomination process, including for the initial surveys and a Site Assessment workshop, came either directly or indirectly from Environment and Climate Change Canada/Canadian Wildlife Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and was also facilitated by a Manomet Shorebird Habitat Management workshop.

With the addition of the Banco dos Cajuais, there are now 98 WHSRN Sites in 15 countries comprising more than 36.8 million acres (14.9 million hectares) of shorebird habitat across the Americas. Banco dos Cajuias joins two other WHSRN sites in Brazil: Reentrâncias Maranhenses and Lagoa do Peixe.

Please join the WHSRN Hemispheric Council and the WHSRN Executive Office in giving a warm welcome to our new partners at the Banco dos Cajuais!