Thursday, May 13, 2010

I usually head to the beach for my birthday in June. On my 50th birthday I went to Tulum and when I woke up in the morning a sea turtle had laid her eggs outside my palapa. I took it as a fantastic omen for the next 50 years. Later that summer there was a huge hurricane hit that beach directly. I hope the turtles were long gone. Then last year I went out to see my "house" in Chabihau which was destroyed the first year I lived here by a hurricane. I was the last one in the water and just as about waist deep I stepped on what I thought was a piece of glass until I looked at the wound... I was a sting ray I had stepped on. It was the worst pain I've ever felt (including kidney stones). I went to the car and almost fainted. A fisherman came by and advised me to cut open the wound and beat it with a knife.... gee thanks. a couple of hours later we made it home. Me in the back of the car moaning and writhing in pain all the way home. When I got to the internet I discovered that all you need do is soak the wound in very hot water. The pain was gone in 5 minutes. If I took it out of the water it hurt again. I kept the foot in hot water for an hour and it was over. Happy Birthday! I'm shocked that the fisherman didn't know this. Also you should shuffle your feet when you enter the water or wear water shoes.

We've had lots of close encounters with bats since moving to Merida. Almost all of the houses we have ever looked at that were uninhabited by humans were inhabited by bats. First you'll see the fruit and seeds they've dropped on the floor then you'll see them hanging from the beams or rails in most of the colonial homes. You move in and they move out. Chances are you'll see them again if you have a pool or pond in your garden. I often suggest that people paint their exterior walls in a nice batshit brown or otherwise it will be painted for you... On Yucatan Wildlife's website there are 55 species of bats listed in the Yucatan.

Shortly after moving here I rescued a baby bat after a hurricane. I nursed him with a syringe for 2 or 3 days until he flew away. Years later I discovered he was not a baby at all but a dwarf. Around sunset you'll see the fruit bats come out to eat any ripe fruit the parrots have left on your tree. About this time the entire population of bats will come out and skim your pool and bomb your walls. After dark you'll here the insect eaters out scooping up mosquitos.

I love bats and so should you. Here is the site of a bat sanctuary with a mythbuster article that will change your mind about bats.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pronatura is a Mexican non profit organization that has worked for more than a decade in priority areas of the Yucatan Peninsula; particularly, in the Biosphere Reserves of Ria Celestun, Ria Lagartos and Calakmul, as well as in the Flora and Fauna Protection Areas of Yum Balam and Otoch Ma'ax Yetel Kooh. Recently, PPY began an ecorregional strategy and is implementing projects in the Biosphere Reserve of Los Petenes, in the State Reserve El Palmar and in the forest mass of the municipality of Calakmul.

Merida was host to Wild 9 Yucatan from November 6 til the 13 with delegates from around the world and keynote presentations by Dr. Jane Goodall, Nick Nichols, Amory Lovins.

The Yucatan peninsula is famous worldwide for its Mayan heritage and the numerous remnants of their splendor. But centuries of history of this outstanding civilization have eclipsed the wild side of a region that hosts an extraordinary diversity of species and that treasures one of the last essential wilderness in Mexico: the Mayan Jungle, a vast track of forest that is accounted as the second largest extension of tropical forest in the Western Hemisphere and recognized worldwide as the one of the cores of the Mesoamerican hotspot.

Moreover, Yucatan hosts one of the biggest unexplored wildernesses on Earth: the underground system of freshwater channels that arise on surface creating the cenotes. In addition, numerous ecosystems are found in the peninsula, each one hosting a treasure of biodiversity. Nesting colonies of flamingos are found in vast wetlands and mangroves that burst with other birdlife –over 540 species of birds can be found in Yucatan–. Manatees float in the coastal lagoons formed by the Mesoamerican Reef, largest in the Atlantic and second largest in the world and an explosion of marine life. Pristine white sand beaches limit the end of the thick lowland jungle that is home for howler monkeys, tapirs, anteaters and the biggest abundance and diversity of wild felines in the country –accounting all species in Mexico except the bobcat—, and above all, the hidden presence of the magnificent jaguar, the iconic top predator of the region.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

strombus gigas

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When you're travel across the Yucatan aside from the road kill on the Cancun highway you might not be aware of the many protected species in our seas and forrest. I first became aware of Pronatura through the owners of the Hacienda Santo Domingo de Yunku who come each year to study the spider monkeys in Punta Laguna. They work to preserve the flora and fauna of the Yucatan from the whale sharks who come to Holbox each fall to the Hawksbill sea turtles that lay their eggs each summer on our beaches. Whether you're going to see the Flamingo's of Celestun and Ria Lagartos or just to the zoo at Centenario chances are you owe a debt of gratitude to Pronatura for their work to preserve the coast wetlands and the Mayan Forests.

Pronatura's gallery of photos of protected species in the Yucatan can be seen here

They are solitary animals that communicate by hissing sounds and a very potent odor produced from the anal gland. As a result, they are sometimes referred to as "stinker of the forest."

Good to know!

While googling for whale sharks I came upon Yucatan Wild Life, a website that documents all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish with lots of links and articles and lists of what fish your likely to see when diving in cozumel or eating in Progresso.

Or you can swim with the whale sharks each spring in Holbox or Cozumel

You'll find these guys wandering around the ruins and in the soup if you're invited to lunch in a Mayan home.

Coqui Coqui has a great new guest house in Coba. Nearby in Punta Laguna there is a spider monkey refuge. We'd heard about it for years because one of the owners of the hacienda Yunku is an anthropologist who volunteers there several weeks a year. It was only recently that we visited and it was absolutely magical. We huffed and puffed along a slippery root covered trail down to the lagoon without having seen a single monkey. Our guide was a 12 year old with little patience or compassion for my aging lungs or feet. Once at waters edge he was easily persuaded to canoe us across the lagoon in hopes of seeing or hearing the small colony of howler monkeys he said lived on the opposite shore. I'm not convinced they do. On the strait and narrow (and paved) road back to the entrance we encountered a group of 50 or so monkeys. It was absolutely heavenly. see I'm not so cynical after all.

Monday, June 26, 2006

phrynohyas venulosa

We once thought these were UFO's landing at the hacienda in Yunku. Turns out they weren't landing after all.

leafcutter ants

  • ants