| May 31, 2018
The Discovery of New Species
Abel Resendiz, Keeper of the Wild
Due to a wet winter and spring, during which cold fronts have arrived late and brought rain and fog, forest fires, which are undoubtedly the main threat to the integrity of the reserves, have been extremely weak.
However, despite the favorable conditions, a lightning caused a fire that consumed approximately 20 hectares close to the western limit of the Cerro Prieto reserve. Fortunately, it was attended to immediately by our park ranger in charge of the reserve and a group of neighbors who were cleaning a firebreak gap nearby. Therefore, it fortunately did not turn out to be a major fire, but only a creeping fire.
In other reserves, the continued presence of our park rangers allowed us to maintain effective protection of the forests.
Placing a camera trap in reserve #2, we were able to obtain three video clips of a puma walking on one of the trails. This indicates that we are providing effective protection to these forests, where big cats now find a refuge.
During this period, we also submitted proposals to purchase new properties and expand two of the reserves. We want to purchase two plots that are covered in ancient cloud forests, with populations of Magnolia rzedowskiana, one of the new micro-endemic species. We also want to expand the reserve of the Cerro Cueva del Tigre and eliminate clandestine logging activities that have been occurring on both properties, which are subject to the World Land Trust.
We submitted another proposal to the Dutch Committee of the IUCN to expand the Hoya Verde reserve by purchasing 57 hectares of temperate forests. In both cases we are still waiting for the approval.
A symposium for the members of the World Land Trust Conservation Alliance was held in the facilities of the British Trust for Ornithology in Thetford, Suffolk between April 16th and 20th. It was attended by Roberto Pedraza Ruiz, Head of the GESG’s Lands for Conservation Program, together with conservationists from 20 countries, all of whom are partners that make up the Conservation Alliance. It was a pleasure to attend the event, learn from experiences of others, strengthen ties, and explore future scenarios for the management of the reserves, in particular the issue of the succession and renewal of staff.
A small carnivorous plant (Pinguicula spp) caught the attention of Roberto Pedraza Ruiz in 2012 outside the reserves, but still in the area of influence of the Cerro Prieto, in the neighboring state of San Luís Potosí. He sent a photo to Dr. Sergio Zamudio Ruiz, who, without a doubt is an expert botanist and taxonomist when it comes to the flora of the Sierra Gorda and an authority when it comes to the carnivorous plants. In 2015 Pedraza Ruiz guided Dr. Zamudio to collect some copies of the species, and in March 2018 Dr. Zamudio and his colleagues published a scientific article in which they described 4 new species of the genus Pinguicula, among them the now Pinguicula robertiana, which is in fact a species new to science, as well as Pinguicula rzedowskiana, which is micro-endemic to the Cerro Grande. There is the possibility that both species have populations within the Cerro Prieto reserve. Another article described a new species of cactus, Mammillaria rzedowskiana, which is also micro-endemic, has healthy populations within our reserve, and we are proud to protect it.
These findings document the importance of protecting these forests, showing that an area like the Cerro Prieto reserve safeguards various species.
Miguel Flores in the Cueva del Tigre reserve