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The threats that put the Zapatosa swamp at risk

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The threats that put the Zapatosa swamp at risk

Days ago we remembered that the department of Cesar is a diverse territory, because it combines a large area of ​​tropical dry forest with more than 350,000 hectares of wetlands from San Alberto to Valledupar. Although tropical dry forest predominates in the north, Valledupar has three wetlands: El Eneal, María Camila and Sicarare.

All three face great sustainability challenges due to human intervention. However, in the center of Cesar is the Ciénaga de Zapatosa, the largest freshwater wetland in Colombia, of international importance and Ramsar category, and which has put us at the center of the environmental discussion.

EL PILÓN made a visit, invited by the ‘Color de Colombia’ Foundation, who organized an important event with regional and local authorities and students with the aim of strengthening knowledge around the Zapatosa swamp.

That integrating body of the Cesar River, the Magdalena River and the departments of Cesar and Magdalena, which has been recognized in all areas. First and most importantly, before moving forward in the writing we want to recognize the people of the Ciénaga and our rivers, of the amphibious coastal culture, for their specialty, their resilience, their gastronomy, their agricultural and fishing activity and their disposition always frank to be attentive to progress and the attention of the State.

It is the heart of Cesar that represents that scenario that could be an unparalleled tourist attraction and that has not been able to be valued by the country or the people of Caesar, due to the difficulty in transportation, or due to the perception of prevailing insecurity that makes living in big cities and not go out to more distant towns. But they have never lived the experience of making extraordinary trips like the ones our reporters made between Saloa and Sempégua during the pandemic.

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In order not to miss the opportunity this time we returned, we traveled and toured the swamp by boat. The body of water in Colombia does not lose its image, it forces you to look at the green landscape and the slow flow from the sky.

But that does not hide the environmental problem that the swamp is going through: the harsh summer (despite the rains) has created islands where green landscapes grow. The boatmen are forced to go around the dry places and the journey lasts from 20 to 40 minutes. Playones also emerged, desert beaches that extend in summer.

The problem is aggravated by poorly done livestock farming: while walking through the swamp you can see hundreds of cows feeding on the islands and shores, destroying biodiversity at every step.

Extensive livestock farming next to the Magdalena swamp threatens its sustainability. According to information from Corpocesar, with an area of ​​40,000 to 60,000 hectares, depending on the time of year, the swamp contains about 500 vascular plants, 45 species of fish and 30 species of mammals.
For this reason, a call is made to the authorities to, through dialogue and the mechanisms allowed by Colombian regulations, protect the main natural wealth of the center of the department of Cesar.

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