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A Journey Into Paradise

Mexico’s Yucatan Region Now Home to Three Newly Protected Areas

13 September, 2012

Felix Gonzalez Canto,the
outgoing governor of Mexico’s state of Quintana Roo,has designated more than
76,000 acres of the region’s Yucatan Peninsula as protected areas. This move
will benefit millions of plants and animals who call the region home and is
also expected to provide a boost to the area’s already thriving tourist
industry.

The 28,000-plus acre Chichankanab
Lagoon State Reserve and Bacalar Lagoon Ecological State Park were established
to protect vital wetlands on the Yucatan peninsula’s mainland.  While the 49,000-plus acre Cozumel
Forest and Wetlands State Reserve is being established on the island of
Cozumel,a popular tourist destination that lies off the eastern coast of
Quintana Roo,is being established to protect both forest and wetland areas.

“The new protected area of
Cozumel is one of the most important conservation actions by the state
government of Quintana Roo in many years. It not only represents a tool to
preserve pristine tropical forest and endemic bird and mammal species,but it
also helps to promote a sustainable development on the largest inhabited island
in Mexico and the most important cruise destination in the world,” said Gonzalo
Merediz,the executive director of Amigos de Sian Ka’an. “On the other hand,
the official protection of the Chichankanab lake area creates the opportunity
to create additional low impact ecotourism projects to help the local
communities,which are among the poorest in the entire Yucatan region,while
also protecting six endemic fish populations.”

In addition,the newly protected areas are expected to draw a number of
birding enthusiasts to the Yucatan region,and are an important step in
preventing the extinction of a number of endangered species throughout the
region. Many efforts of the new park and nature reserves will work in
conjunction with the efforts of the Sian Ka’an ecological park,which is
located on the Caribbean coast near the city of Tulum.

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