Humedal del Sur de Sancti Spiritus IBA is a wetland and coastal
area between Las Nuevas, Mapo and Tunas de Zaza, on the
south coast in Sancti Spiritus province. It comprises a group of
natural coastal wetlands, rice paddies, and pastures for livestock
farming. The rice paddies act as seasonal wetland ecosystems,
with El Jíbaro being the most important in the country and a
critical site for congregatory waterbirds. To the south the IBA
is bordered with a fringe of mangrove forests and coastal
wetlands including the El Basto and La Limeta lagoons. Access
to this area is facilitated by the rice paddy embankments,
although the lagoons can be reached by land. The rice paddies
are managed by the Sur del Jíbaro Agroindustrial Complex.
This IBA is notable for resident and migratory waterbirds,
with congregations of migratory shorebirds exceeding 10,000
individuals, and over 20,000 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
observed on occasions. The migratory Blue-winged Teal Anas
discors is particularly abundant (>100,000 individuals) in the
coastal lagoons. Up to 100 Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck
Dendrocygna arborea use the remote coastal wetlands
as diurnal resting areas and the rice paddies as nocturnal
Non-bird biodiversity: The endemic hutia Capromys pilorides> is present in the
mangrove area, as are various endemic reptiles belonging to
the genera Anolis and Epicrates.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Humedal del Sur de Sancti Spiritus IBA includes the locally
significant Tunas de Zaza Wildlife Refuge approved by the
Comite Ejecutivo del Consejo de Ministros in 2001.
Conservation projects and environmental education
campaigns are currently being implemented in the IBA. These
wetlands are affected by activities of the residents of Las
Nuevas, Jibaro, Mapo, Tunas de Zaza (and other areas) who
traditionally use the IBA as a hunting site. Local residents
use hand-made traps and nets to capture egrets, ibises,
flamingos and ducks. Although use of fertilisers in the artificial
wetlands has decreased in the last 15 years, natural wetlands,
like those close to Tunas de Zaza, are being affected by sewage
discharges, causing the death of mangroves.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2020.