United Photo Press in Zapata Swamp

Posted on August 09, 2010 by UNITED PHOTO PRESS

Within the Zapata Swamp are over 900 autochthonous plant species, 175 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles and over 1000 species of invertebrates. Some of the most notable are local endemics to Cuba, for birds it would include the Zapata Wren, Zapata Rail, and the Zapata Sparrow. The Zapata Swamp is also visited by 65 species of birds during their migration pattern from North America through the Caribbean to South America. Zapata is also known for the local endemic Cuban Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) which are restricted to the Zapata Swamp and are being reintroduced to the nearby Lanier Swamp on the Isle of Youth (Spanish: Isla de la Juventud).

Within the Zapata Swamp are numerous areas designated for environmental preservation, such as Zapata Swamp Natural Reserve and Las Salinas wildlife sanctuary, which is part of the larger Zapata Biosphere Reserve (IUCN category VI) which in total is over 6,000 km² and the largest protected area, not only in Cuba, but also the Caribbean. The swamp is not only known for its size but also for being the best preserved wetlands in all of the Antilles, designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971. In mid-2001 an additional 4,520 km² were declared a Ramsar Site in mid-2001.
 
Photography Alex Burgaz