Protecting Wild Cat Habitat

by Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda I.A.P
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Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Protecting Wild Cat Habitat
Jaguar
Jaguar

These last three months we proceeded to identify potential properties for purchase. Due to the ilegal logging which has been unstoppable in the immediate vicinity of the reserve known as Cerro Prieto-Cerro la Luz, we decided to approach World Land Trust, our British partner, to acquire the property of Mr. Isidro Ruiz Servin, with a surface area of 65 hectares and thereby amplify the reserve to protect it from the logging.

All of the reserves have continued to benefit from the constant presence of the park guardians (Leonel Espino, Abel Resendiz, Emiliano Cardenas, Taurino Castillo) and their supervisor Miguel Flores and occassionally Roberto Pedraza. In the reserves that have been purchased for strict protection, there is no ilegal logging or other extraction. We observed a minimal presence of cattle in two of them (Canon del Fresno and Cerro Prieto-Cerro La Luz); in the first for a fence that has since been repaired and in the second a lack of fencing. Given a fence would be a major expense and would have a negative impact on the forest, we visited the neighboring properties to give an ultimatum and were accompanied by the local authorities. If the cattle are encountered again, we will round them up and hold them and involve the authorities formally.

The following reserves in our care have had maintenance to trails and additional handiwork: Arenitas, San Francisco, La Tinaja, Canon del Fresno, Tinaja del Zapote, Hoya Verde, Mesa Colorada, Socabon and El Naranjito, and the buffer zones that protect them, accounting for a total of 46.1 kilometers. The fence maintenance in the reserves Canon del Fresno and la Hoya del Hielo, in addition to the major reparation to the perimeter fence of the reserve Mesa Colorada, including installing fence posts of steel which was financed in part by the donation received here in Global Giving to protect vital habitat.

And we had the enormous pleasure to obtain images in the camera traps of puma and jaguar, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the conservation activities within these private reserves within the greater Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. The images come from the reserves La Tinaja and Las Arenitas.

Puma
Puma
Jaguar
Jaguar

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Ancient Forest
Ancient Forest

Wildlife activity kept up in our camera-traps, as again, ranger Leonel Espino photographed two jaguars in the Arenitas and Tinaja reserves, where old growth oak forests offer heaven to a variety of wildlife.

We are thrilled to announce the discovery of three new Magnolia species, two of them in the Hoya del Hielo reserves, and the other species in the Hoya Verde reserve. Dr. Antonio Vázquez, from the Universidad de Guadalajara is in charge of their description, already shared some info and the new species are dedicated to: Magnolia rzedowskyana, to Dr. Jerzy Rzedowsky, Mexico´s main botanist, Magnolia sierragordae, to this very special mountains, and the third I had the truly enormous honour to be named after my surname, Magnolia pedrazae, as Dr. Vázquez first realized they were new species thanks to photos I shot years ago and also because our work to protect local biodiversity.

We covered the surveillance of the rest of the reserves by the activities of other rangers, their supervisor and myself, without encountering any illegal activities. But just outside the reserves the ongoing logging, so they are showing how effective this conservation scheme is and this is why we must continue.

Jaguar at La Tinaja
Jaguar at La Tinaja

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Dear Donor,

It is an honour to share the announcement that our Director, Martha "Pati" Ruiz Corzo has been recognized today with the Wangari Maathai Prize by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.  I am attaching the official press release for your information.

"Martha’s extraordinary commitment to preserving the biodiversity of her land and to lifting rural communities out of poverty makes her a deserving winner of the Wangari Maathai Award,” said Eduardo Rojas Briales, FAO Assistant Director-General, Forestry, and Chair of the CPF. “By recognizing the implications of asking subsistence farmers to plant trees on land they had previously used to eke out a living, and putting into place successful mechanisms to offset that lost income, Martha and her organization have established a solid model that can be replicated elsewhere.”

Best regards,

Thalia Davidoff (Communications Officer)

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Jaguar spotted in Sierra Gorda
Jaguar spotted in Sierra Gorda

For this period we are proud to report sightings of wildlife coming back to the protected areas by our rangers. First, Leonel Espino founded tow active nest of red-crowned parrots that depend on the old-hollow trees to nest.

But the best just happened past July. Leonel came to office in in the first week of the month quite excited as he found several fresh tracks of a jaguar and even listened how the big cat disappeared in the bush. So he placed the camera traps in the forest and on the 26th of July, a big jaguar passed by, showing indeed the real value of providing, although a small plot in the territory a jaguar claims, safe heavens to wildlife. Jaguars of course are a forest health indicator and for us, they represent the real wilderness essence of these mountains.

In other protected areas, the only encounters of rangers were with wildlife and its signs, without illegal activities (logging, poaching, and forest fires), happening in any of them, totaling 20 surveillance trips.

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Abel, one of the Sierra Gorda's rural rangers
Abel, one of the Sierra Gorda's rural rangers

For this period, we carried out a total of 12 surveillance trips to monitor the on-going protection of sanctuaries purchased for strict conservation as well as the priority areas owned locally that joined the ecosystem services compensation program. Our field staff has received encouraging reports from landowners and neighbors alike that wildlife they had not seen in decades are returning to the protected properties and the neighboring areas.

To reach these remote areas requires four wheel drive, the tools and the outdoors skills to reach them and survey the landscape on foot. The conditions often include removing trees that have fallen across the old roads that are no longer accessible to loggers and hunters. Among the old oaks, ancient cedar and an extraordinary diversity of magnolias and orchids that make up a part of this special community, we can hear the call of the bearded wood partridge on the forest floor and wild turkeys flirting in the trees tops. Ultimately, the value of these wildlife reserves is reflected in the increasing number of tracks left by the indicator species we know seek refuge in the Sierra Gorda, such as the mighty jaguar.

Your continued support is vital to sustain the salaries of our rural rangers, Miguel, Abel, Leonel, Javier and Emiliano, who wear the Sierra Gorda uniform and have distinguished themselves in their communities for the important role they play as educators and defenders of the last wild places.

Thank you for your support!

Surveillance trip on horseback
Surveillance trip on horseback
Surveillance on foot
Surveillance on foot
Joya del Hielo, important vital habitat
Joya del Hielo, important vital habitat

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Organization Information

Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda I.A.P

Location: Queretaro - Mexico
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SierraGorda
Project Leader:
Martha "Pati" Ruiz Corzo
Jalpan de Serra, Queretaro Mexico
$38,455 raised of $75,000 goal
 
571 donations
$36,545 to go
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