A recent blog post from Sky Island Alliance board member Juan Carlos Bravo makes a strong call to action to protect the Ajos-Bavispe Natural Protected Area in Sonora, Mexico. Ajos-Bavispe encompasses over 496,000 acres of conservation lands and contains the highest concentration of Priority Species in the whole country, including jaguars, bison, golden eagles, and black-tailed prairie dogs. It is also home to iconic species like black bears, ocelots, beavers, and more.
The area was first protected by presidential decree in the 1930s, making it one of Mexico’s oldest protected areas. The reserve has been a leader in conservation, utilizing best practices for fire-management, serving as a host to Mexico’s first Mexican wolf reintroduction, and preserving key corridors for migrating species. The reserve’s diversity of species and its dedication to conservation led to Ajos-Bavispe joining Sky Island Alliance’s Sister Parks program.
Threat to the reserve
Ajos-Bavispe is fading into bureaucratic limbo. The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) no longer includes the reserve on its official inventory, and it is not included in the most recent update to the official GIS layer. It is being erased from existence—and most importantly it is being erased from budgets. The reserve’s budget has been slashed by more than 86%, from about $70,000 (1.3 million pesos) annually in 2012 – 2015 to just $9,700 (180,000 pesos) in 2016! In addition, Mario Cirett (also a Sky Island Alliance board member), who had been director at the reserve since 2008, was fired in August 2015 and his position has not been filled.
What is needed to protect this vital landscape, and the unique species that depend on it, is a signature on a Secretarial Agreement to update the reserve’s legal status and restoration of the budget to a level that will support the ongoing conservation of these lands.
You can help. Take action today.
Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment needs to be pressured to do what is right. Letters asking for the Secretary to immediately sign the agreement to restore the legal status of Ajos-Bavispe—from Mexican citizens and from our supporters in the U.S.—will ensure the survival of this reserve for today and for generations to come.