Dominican Republic Bird Refuge Opens Near Sierra de Bahoruco National Park

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Oct. 20 (UPI) — Dominican Republic officials say they have created a new refuge for birds, located on the northwest border of the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park.

The creation of the reserve extends protection in the region by 111 square miles, providing essential habitat protection for the globally threatened Bay-breasted Cuckoo and threatened resident and migratory birds that depend on the Island of Hispaniola, the American Bird Conservancy said.

The conservancy and its Dominican Republic partner, the Jaragua Group, prepared the proposal and conducted the biodiversity inventory work needed to justify the new area.

“With 30 endemic bird species, Hispaniola ranks high in global importance for bird conservation,” said George Wallace, American Bird Conservancy’s Vice President of Oceans and Islands. “With forests in Haiti virtually gone and an accelerated rate of forest loss in the Dominican Republic, many of these species face a bleak future — of the 30 species, 14 are ranked by (the International union for Conservation of Nature) as globally threatened.”

Officials said the work to create the new protected area was part of a part of a broader effort to improve the management of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, which is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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