Almost thirty years after its inauguration, the biosphere Reserve of the Guanacahabibes Peninsula showcases Cuba’s endemic wildlife and also offers ways to conserve it.
Located in the Island’s most western zone, in the province of Pinar del Rio, the zone supports species of flora and fauna that experts are continuously trying to record and keep track of.
It may be that such species protection work that monopolizes the attention of scientific institutions and international organizations intent on amplifying their experiences, ranks as one of the primary challenges for the area.
This is the reason why a team of Cuban specialists in its management and care attended the IV World Biosphere Reserve Congress in the Peruvian capital of Lima last March.
Zone coordinator, Lázaro Márquez, told The Havana Reporter that they went to share about what they applied in the area, especially regarding the participation of young people in species conservation work.
He said that one of the challenges arising from the Lima Congress is the development of a 10-year global plan for the protection of these sites, in compliance with U.N. sustainable development goals.
For the expert, who could well be described as a founder of the Reserve since its designation in 1987, one of its principal attractions are the sea turtles, which are also perhaps most the vulnerable to predators.
Marquez said, “poaching has taken a considerable toll, but we have put environmental conservancy plans that involve all the surrounding communities in place“.
He told how the project has obtained the “miracle” of converting some who were intent on poaching turtles into people who now have a conscience and are involved in their care and protection.
Young people are especially integrated into the diverse range of programs designed for all educational levels, from primary to pre-university.
They participate in educational talks and even in the monitoring work that involves the tracking of these animals from the moment nesting commences.
He explained that this is exhausting work involving tough days, but that it has contributed to the formation of consciences.
The expert said that this monitoring of the turtles also attracted tourists, many of whom came to learn how to raise and conserve them.
Marquez added that the number of visitors interested in conservation was on the rise and that eco-tourism was feasible not only because of the attraction to the turtles, but also to the more than 150 species of both endemic and migratory birds, of 45 types.Share on FB Share on TT