The Philippines celebrates World Wetlands Day by naming its eighth Wetland of International Importance. The Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetlands (“Ramsar Site” no. 2445) are located in Manila Bay, on the island of Luzon in the north of the Philippine Archipelago.
These sheltered wetlands include mudflats, mangroves and riverine habitats that serve as important stopover points for migratory waterbirds on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, with over 50,000 individuals counted in 2020. Threatened bird species recorded in the Site include the endangered Nordman’s or spotted greenshank (Tringa guttifer), black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) and far eastern curlew (Numenius madagascariensis).
Aquaculture ponds cover large parts of the Site, helping to support local livelihoods. The Site also hosts zones of the vulnerable mangrove species Avicennia rumphiana, which, along with the more common Sonneratia alba, provides shelter for juvenile species of fish, molluscs and other marine and estuarine species. Unsustainable hunting, fishing and logging (especially of mangrove species) are some of the activities threatening the Wetlands.