On 12 August, 2021, the first birdwatching centre of the Iberá Wetlands was was inaugurated in Corrientes, Argentina. The international, bilingual centre is located in Ituzaingó, one of the gateways to the Iberá marshes, and is dedicated to promoting birdwatching in the area.
The Iberá Bird Centre was built by the government of Corrientes and the Ecotourism area of the Corredor Azul programme of Wetlands International, who helped develop the contents of the space.
The inauguration was attended by Governor Gustavo Valdés, Senator Sergio Flinta and the Minister of Tourism Sebastián Slobayen. They opened the centre together with the president of the Corrientes Chamber of Tourism, Alejandra Boloqui, and the bird specialist Horacio Matarasso from Wetlands International. Representatives from other organizations also participated in the event.
The new space will have permanent and temporary exhibits. Workshops, activities, meetings, training, research, and products and services related to birding will be available for purchase.
“This is the largest Birdwatching Centre in South America and it was developed in one of the most important places for birds, the Esteros del Iberá. It is a site with international importance dedicated to birdwatching,” explained Horacio Matarasso, in charge of the Ecotourism component of the Corredor Azul programme.
At the Bird Observation Centre visitors will be able to learn about some 500 species that inhabit Iberá and its wetlands. Some of these species are emblematic to the area, and others are threatened and survive only in this refuge of protected nature. Among the best known are: Red-and-green macaw, Strange-tailed tyrant, Ibera seedeater, Bare-faced curassow, Yellow cardinal, Black-and-white monjita, Brown-and-yellow marshbird and Upland sandpiper.
Ituzaingó, where the centre is located, is one of the 10 gateways from where one can access the Esteros del Iberá. Each of the gateways is located on the margins of this immense protected wetland that extends over one and a half million hectares, with access to the rich flora and fauna that characterise the region.
The gateways are critical for the economic development of Iberá’s inhabitants, who depend on ecotourism and biodiversity conservation for their livelihoods. Iberá is an international example of how safeguarding wetlands improves the quality of life and livelihoods of its inhabitants and, at the same time, involves them in the conservation of their environment.