On Thursday evening, I had another opportunity to visit the home of Joann Andrews, Honorary President of Pronatura Peninsula de Yucatan (PPY) to hear her speak on Biodiversity in the Yucatán.
Thanks to the International Women’s Club Gardening Group President, Ileana Acevedo Vega,
for arranging this incredible opportunity.
The evening started, as do most encounters with Joann, in a ‘quick’ tour of her orchids;
Always fascinating. Several interesting new developments were discussed; one that I found particularly interesting is the recent re-classification of a group of orchids that I know as Schombergkia (sp) to the classification Myrmecophila. I found this particularly interesting because I happen to have several Schombergkia/Myrmecophila orchids; several of which I have blogged while they were in bloom. (to see pictures of some of my orchids, the Schomburgkias included just type orchids in to Search bar)
ProNatura (PPY) is a non profit organization whose mission is to conserve the flora, fauna and vital ecosystems of Mexico. They are doing this by, among other things, promoting community development in harmony with nature.
PPY has been working on priority areas of Yucatan Peninsula since 1981.
What makes Mexico Special?
It is the Incredible Diversity of both our Terrestrial and
PPY has programs along the Coastal Regions where they protect and preserve turtles, whale sharks, flamingos, and the delicate habitats and ecosystems that are being compromised by excessive and unregulated use.
The Private Reserve of El Zapotal, where they now have proof that 5 of the 6 types of Mexican wild cats exist. Also in El Zapotal they are monitoring and recording a large variety of birds, as well as working to educate and inform the local populations on the need and benefits of protecting the unique environment there.
ProNatura is training Mayan men and women to be Conservators of the Yucatan by teaching them to Guides in many areas; from Bird Guides, to Archaeology Guides, to Guides of the History and Lore of the Maya Culture. They are also helping women to learn to keep bees for honey production, to improve their embroidery skills to create sustainable income. They are advising farmers on new ideas and methods of agriculture that are less damaging and that can help conserve wildlife habitat.
A few facts you might find interesting, and perhaps surprising.
Mexico is #4 in the World in varieties of plant species. The Yucatan alone has 182 families, 992 genera, 2,477 species and 98 varieties/subspecies of plants. This is 10.47% of all mexican species, just here in the Yucatán.
Mexico is also #4 in the World in diversity of Amphibians. The Yucatán alone can boast 43 species, with 4 of them being endemic and unfortunately 1 is already an endangered species.
Mexico tops the rest of the World as being #1 in reptile diversity.
The Yucatán alone can boast over 25% of the total Mexican species by claiming 139 species. Add to that there are 19 endemic species here in the Yucatán, and sadly 25 species are endangered; that is lamentable 17.9% of the Mexican species.
So you can see why Pronatura Peninsula de Yucatan’s work is so important.
In the Yucatán alone you can find 513 species, a full 46.6% of all Mexican species of birds. We have 67 endemic species, and sadly 157 species are endangered.
Mexico is #2 in the world in Mammals, with Yucatan containing 103 species, 16 species of which are endangered, and we have 21 that are endemic.
So what can you do? Well of course you can support PPY programs!
OR you can become more involved in other ecology minded and sustainability focused groups where you live. You can develop a more sustainable approach in your home and life; Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, Compost, Create Animal Habits in your space; a bird feeder or bird bath, put up a butterfly box or a bat box, plant things that are tasty to birds, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds….
If you are here in Merida and want to get involved in a more sustainable future there are a number of options: PPY of course, and also MeridaVerde
. I know there are more, but this is what I have at the moment.