Sombrero Island – Anguilla’s first Ramsar site designated

Sombrero ground lizard.

Sombrero masked booby.


ANGUILLA–Sombrero Island has been officially recognised by intergovernmental environmental treaty Ramsar Convention as a wetland site. Curtis Richardson, Minister of Infrastructure said, “This week the Government of Anguilla, through the Ministry with responsibility for Environment is pleased to announce that Anguilla has formally designated its first Ramsar site, Sombrero Island, and now joins other members of the global community. We are really pleased and excited that we were all able to achieve this output through the Ramsar Small Grant Fund and the support of government of Anguilla and its agencies working together collectively.”

The island now joins a network of over 2,300 sites that conserve and protect some of the world’s most significant wetlands. As a Ramsar site, Sombrero Island’s status as a wetland of international importance and a key biodiversity site is raised, increasing opportunities for eco-tourism and fundraising for wetland and site management.

Sombrero is 65 kilometres north east of Anguilla and is a 38 hectare flat limestone outcropping situated in the middle of the Anegada Passage. It is midway between Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands and its isolation has made it one of Anguilla’s hidden treasures, rich in history and colourful stories. Despite its bare cliffs and rocky areas it is a home for a great number of birds and lizards. These include a globally important population of bridled tern as well as regionally important populations of brown booby, masked booby, and brown noddy. In addition, the critically endangered Sombrero Island ground lizard Ameiva corvina can also be found along with the recently discovered, possibly endemic, and tentatively named Sombrero dwarf gecko.

In 2005, Sombrero Island was identified as an Important Bird Area and, in 2007, the government of Anguilla declared the island and its surrounding waters a Nature Reserve Marine Park. Over the last three years, the Anguilla National Trust has been working with government to further designate the park as Anguilla’s first Ramsar site. This designation recognises the government of Anguilla’s commitment to protect the island’s regionally rare wetland type, containing both human made and marine/coastal karst systems, its globally and regionally significant seabird nesting populations, as well as its endangered and endemic reptiles.

Source: The Daily Herald