The Los Angeles Times recently reported on the new Mexico real estate protected natural reserve on Cozumel Island, which is one of many such areas located throughout the region. The new territory is more than 93,000 acres and lies just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
It is part of a concentrated conservation effort throughout Mexico’s Riviera Maya to preserve the region’s natural habitats and protect its wildlife. The new zone is federally protected and covers the entire northern and eastern ends of the island, in addition to an offshore zone of more than 1,100 acres.
“The designation is meant to help protect the 533 species identified in the region, including algaes, sea sponges, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals,” said Mexico’s environmental and Natural Resources Ministry in a statement. “This is the 18th such designation made during the term of President Felipe Calderon.”
The decision was made due in part to rising tourism numbers and increasing development on the island of Cozumel, which environmentalists say has damaged the native mangroves and coral reef. As part of recent conservation efforts in the region, a private energy developer was recently denied its petition to build a wind-energy park on Cozumel real estate, due to the park’s potential environmental impact. As farther proof of the Mexican federal government’s commitment to preserving the nation’s natural beauty and wildlife, outgoing president Calderon’s government also denied the creation of a new mega-resort on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, which was determined by environmentalists to pose a serious threat to the native biodiversity in the nearby Cabo Pulmo National Park.
“The declaration on the Cozumel natural reserve prohibits any ‘change of use’ of the land – including construction – that would affect the ‘original ecosystems,” writes the L.A. Times. “However, the decree permits sustainable tourism within the zone.”