El Refugio Wildlife Preserve Teaches Conservation to Students, Residents and Visitors in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

One of the main reasons that tourists come to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and its surrounding communities is to enjoy the beauty of nature – our wildlife and flora.  But, we must protect and conserve it!  El Refugio de Potosi, our local wildlife preserve, is working to do that by teaching students, residents and visitors about wildlife that is endangered, at risk, or that requires special protection.

Since September 2013, El Refugio, with the assistance of the Zihuatanejo Municipal Department of Ecology, has been  presenting  a travelling Photo Gallery of endangered flora and fauna to help teach the community about conservation, entitled “La Naturaleza en Peligro” (The Nature in Danger).  Over 9,000 students have passed through the exhibit in the school tour.  The Photo Gallery also toured local hotels, the airport and other public places.  El Refugio is in the process of converting the Photo Gallery into a Powerpoint Presentation so that it can continue to be shown as an educational tool.

Refugio Photo Gallery

Over 9,000 students visited the Photo Gallery of endangered flora and fauna to learn about conservation.  The Photo Gallery also toured hotels and public places in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo.


Mexico is home to between 10 to 12% of global biodiversity. Locally, on the north coast of the State of Guerrero, the range of habitats nurtures an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.  Included in the habitat mix are tropical dry forests, mangroves, salt flats, cultivated areas, lagoons, sand dunes/xerophytic scrub, the Pacific Ocean, rock islands, beaches and coral reefs.

The NOM -059 (2010) SEMARNAT, is the legal document that specifies the wildlife species of Mexico that are extinct, endangered, at risk or requiring special protection.  Over the past 10 years, there has been an increase of 25% in the listings.  Since there can never be sufficient officials to enforce the laws, protection or our environment must come from the local citizenry who must be endowed with a greater knowledge of the value of each species.  The traveling Photo Gallery is a visual testimony of the high number of species in the region seriously impacted by human activity.

Photo Gallery joint 1

Over the past 10 years, the list of endangered species in Mexico has increase by 25%.  Protection of our environment must come from the local citizenry who must be endowed with a greater knowledge of the value of each species.

You can help!  

On December 14th, El Refugio de Potosi will host the 3rd Annual Playa Blanca Audubon bird count.  Birds are important indicators of the health of our planet.  Early signs of significant changes in bird populations help conservationists formulate plans to maintain the chain of life.  Last year, there were only 21 areas in Mexico that participated in this global survey.  This event is the only count in Guerrero and you can help!  To join, contact Laurel Patrick at laurel@elrefugiodepotosi.org.

Tours to Refugio de Potosi are now by Appointment Only

El Refugio, as with most nonprofits, is challenged to achieve its conservation goals while reaching for an economic balance.  For the next calendar year, El Refugio can no longer accept wild animals for sanctuary or care and can no longer invite schools for conservation.  Tours are now by appointment only.

Santiago Castro is the new Tour Guide at El Refugio and he serves as an example to others.  A native of Zihuatanejo, Santiago knew very little about nature and conservation until he visited El Refugio for his interview, but now he’s “hooked.”   He invested hours of home study and sought out experts to help him learn about nature and conservation.  Santiago also taught himself English by watching TV so that he can guide tourists.

IM_ santiago-boa

Santiago Castro is the new Tour Guide at El Refugio de Potosi.  This season, tours are by appointment only.

El Refugio de Potosi invites tourists to visit and view the iguanas, climb the tower, wander the paths, contemplate the pond, thrill at the hummingbirds, marvel at the cachalot restoration, or simply bird watch.  Contact Santiago for an appointment at info@elrefugiodepotosi.org or call (755) 111-1762.

Conserving our environment is part of keeping a peaceful community.  In recognition of their educational work to conserve our environment, El Refugio de Potosi, represented by Santiago Castro, will be recognized as a local “Peacemaker” at the Celebration of Peace, February 4-9, 2014 in Zihuatanejo.

Related Articles:

El Refugio de Potosi -A Perfect Place to See Local Nature Up Close

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Launches “Education for Peace” Program with the United Nations for 2013

You Are Invited to the Celebration of Peace and Zihuatanejo Sailfest –February 4-9, 2013

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