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A Journey Into Paradise

National Geographic Highlights Conservation Efforts in Mexico

20 February, 2013

Much has been written in recent years about the challenges modernization has posed for the indigenous cultures and native species of Mexico,particularly in the nation’s stunning Yucatan Peninsula region. National Geographic has taken notice of Mexico’s considerable efforts to preserve its natural resources,such as the jaguar,the colorful motmot,and the countless other animals that play integral roles in the region’s unique habitat.

“The Maya regarded the jaguar as king of the forest,a metaphor for greatness,perfection and supernatural power,” writes National Geographic. “In the Yucatan Peninsula,a group of scientists are making a difference and providing a glimmer of hope for the jaguar as well as other indigenous species.”

The Millsaps’ Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve (KKBR) in the Yucatan Peninsula has been very successful in creating a unique setting that is dedicated to conservation,education and research. According to National Geographic,Mexico real estate on the Yucatan Peninsula has the largest population of jaguars in the entire country and the reserve is committed to examining the region’s population of these elusive felines,from both a biological standpoint and with regard to the attitudes toward the jaguar among the remaining Maya communities of the Yucatan State’s Puuc Hill region,in an effort to enlist local support for protection measures.

“Even though jaguars are on the informational brochures of most eco-tourism outfits and conservationist foundations,very little is known about the habitat needs and movement patters of these furtive species,especially in the human-dominated landscapes of the interior of the peninsula,” writes National Geographic. “At the KKBR,jaguars still find enough forest cover to subsist,or even thrive.”

This 4,400-acre (1,800-hectare) reserve is located inside the larger Puuc Biocultural State Reserve,which protects 333,000 acres (135,000) hectares). Here,trail cameras capture the jaguar’s movements and the vast,largely forested area serves as an important corridor for large-scale movement and breeding activities of these large cats,which are essential aspects of its long-term survival.

“The jaguar conservation project is just part of the many programs that have been spearheaded by the KKBR,” writes National Geographic. “Other ongoing programs and accomplishments include research and conservation of the archaeological zone of Kiuic,monitoring of fauna and the registry of new bird species,studies that are trying to correlate regional climate,deforestation and population dynamics of many species.”