Birdlife International, a global organization dedicated to the protection of birdlife, recently revealed over 3,000 critical locations for the conservation of marine birdlife throughout the globe, 75 of which are located within Chile.
Each of these critical locations is called an Important Bird Area or an IBA.
Four kinds of coastal environments were considered in the IBA selection process. The first were ‘seaward extensions to breeding colonies’, or rather, areas used for foraging and nesting of sedentary as well as migratory species. Secondly, ‘coastal congregations of non-breeding birds’ are areas used for foraging but not breeding by coastal birds.
‘Migration bottlenecks’ are locations that become hubs for marine bird migration. Finally, ‘high seas sites’ are locations far removed from the mainland used as foraging areas for species that travel far from land.
Before the designation of these 75 new IBAs, Chile already had just over 100 sites with a few maritime locations.
“In the case of Chile, we considered the islands that we had already counted as IBAs we broadened that,” Patricio Ortiz, member of the National Committee for the defense of Flora and Fauna (Codeff), the organization that represents Birdlife in Chile, told La Tercera.
“What ultimately becomes an marine IBA, [is] a colony of birds on land adjacent to the sea that serves as a means for them to feed themselves,” Ortiz explained.
Some of the places identified as IBAs include the cliffs of Arica, the bays of Coquimbo, Mejillones, the mouths of Biobío and Maipu rivers, the Alejandro Selkirk islands, Choros, Damas, Punta de Choros, and Parque Nacional Cabo de Hornos.
Birdlife International will send an evaluation of new IBA sites, as well as advice on how to better protect these locations to Chile’s Environment Ministry.
While Birdlife International has over 11,000 IBA’s listed internationally they are just recently expanding their realm of protection into marine bird life.
To learn more about IBA’s in Chile and internationally visit their website.