Established in 1974, the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge lies along the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. It is one of the nine refuges managed by the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
In 1999 an additional 1,249 acres from the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats were added to the refuge; bringing the total acreage to 1,836. The salt flats are managed under a special use permit with a private operator, who continues to manage water levels as part of a commercial salt-harvesting operation. Water levels on the salt flats are also managed with the needs of shorebirds in mind. This area is considered the most important stopover for migratory birds and shorebirds in the Eastern Caribbean. The migratory birds use the refuge during the cooler months, while resident species are present year-round
The refuge is also a center for scientists to conduct research. The information they gather helps managers make decisions on how to protect and preserve native wildlife. To date, 245 plant species and 145 bird species have been identified on Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge.
Designated a Critical Habitat for the Yellow-shouldered Blackbird
The entire refuge is part of the BirdLife International Important Bird Area named "Suroeste de PR"
The Cabo Rojo Salt Flats are recognized as an Important Critical Wildlife Area
The refuge is the first place in the Caribbean to be designated a site in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN).