Baja California, Pacific Coast.
On the North of the peninsula of Baja California, sprawls the largest wildlife refuge in Mexico. It is a dry area with very little rainfall, where coyotes and hares have learned to subsist by eating the water-filled leaves of succulent plants. This is where you may be able to spot one of the 400 pronghorns left in the world, a severely endangered specie as well as many species of migratory birds.
But the most popular activities in the parc take place at the Whale Sanctuary where you can find lagoon tours that take you to see the dolphins, sea lions and once endangered grey whales, apparently so abundant now and fearless that they come up to the boat with their calves, close enough to be petted. This area is considered prime territory in the world for grey whales’ reproduction, between December and March. Once the calves are born, the mother and offspring hang around the shores to teach him/her how to feed. The Sanctuary is under the protection of UNESCO.
A.K.A. La Meseta de Caxaxtla
The diversity of wildlife encountered in this fascinating biological
corridor can be found 50km away from Mazatlán. You can follow trails that will
take you through the site where you will be able to see many endangered fauna
species such as rare parrots, woodpeckers and falcons as well as at least
another 300 kinds of birds.
Near the sea, you might spot some sharks or another of the 26 kinds of amphibious animals. The Meseta is also home to pumas, jaguars and ocelots and you should follow the instructions given by the park in order to avoid close encounters. 300 varieties of plants are strewn in the nooks and crevices of the terrain and enormous centenarian trees provide well appreciated shade.
Use the village of
San Ignacio as your base to explore the villages around or bring a tent and
camp at the designated area within the refuge.
If you are already in the region, do not miss La Zona Arqueológica de Las Labradas on the shore, near San Ignacio, in the South of Sinaloa. There you will see rock engravings, among the oldest of the American continent, maybe as old as 10,000 years. They show animals, human forms, plants and some even say a representation of the skies during the summer solstice.
The Turtle Hatchery is a 10 minutes walk from Nuevo
Vallarta, a beautiful beach with many resorts. This beach is the number one
destination between late August and early November for several species of sea
turtles, many of them endangered. Every year, the turtles return to build their
nest and lay their eggs at the exact same place where they were born. But the short
trip from sand-nest to sea is fraught with many danger for the baby turtles.
This is why the Mexican government has decided to intervene and install several
Baby Turtles Sea Release Programs whose staff supervise the hatching and
releasing of the baby turtles. This has dramatically increased the
survival rate of the hatchlings, with more than 1.5 million turtles released in the past 5 years.
Sanctuary for Sea Turtles on Isla Mujeres
Similar to the Turtle Hatchery in Riviera, you’ll find the turtle farm in the middle of the beautiful and wild Isla Mujeres, 13 km off the coast of Quitana Roo and the Yucatan peninsula. You can rent a golf cart to get around or get a taxi. Don’t forget to get a map to locate the turtle farm. Better still, stay for 2 days and do some snorkeling to see the many coral reefs around the island as well as the Maayan ruins at Punta del Sur.
The Turtle Sanctuary divides the turtles by age and during the first year of their lives they stay on the farm to insure their safety. They are then mated, tagged and released. You will be able to see more than 6 species there.
Refugio Animal Holbox
Calle Tintorera, Holbox
The Refugio animal Holbox is a special place in more than one way. Though it is a simple cat and dog sanctuary, it is run by wonderful people and the animals are well looked after. It is also situated on a gorgeous island separated from the mainland by the Yalahau Lagoon, where you will be able to watch pink flamingoes and pelicans on the shores or flying overhead as you cross.
The cat and dog sanctuary was started more than 8 years back
by Morelia who sunk all her savings into rescuing, treating and placing more
than 8000 animals since opening, when nobody else was doing it on the island.
What we especially like about this place is that Morelia goes out of her way to help her protégés in all kinds of manners such as encouraging you to take a dog out on your tour of the island, or doing everything that needs to be done in order to help you take a pet home abroad.
Morelia is more than happy to get some help bathing or
playing with cats and dogs, cleaning kennels etc. Should you fall in love with
the island and the shelter, know that you can volunteer
there for a minimum of a month. The island also has a lot to offer in terms of marine fauna observation and you may find that a month-long volunteering proposition may be just the experience you are looking for!
We try to locate animal sanctuaries, refuges or nature reserves that do not look like zoos, where cages, if any, are large and only temporary, a place for the animals to recuperate from abuse or to be treated. It is important to us at The Veganary to review only those places that eventually release animals in nature or get them adopted in the case of pets. Should you find discrepancies between your own first-hand experience and what we say about these places or if you notice some bad practices that we are not aware of, do not hesitate to let us know, so that we can adjust the information
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