When visiting Cabo Pulmo, one is amazed by swimming in crystal clear waters, snorkeling in the breathtaking coral reefs and diving next to endless populations of friendly massive rays, whale sharks, and sea turtles. The beauty of Cabo Pulmo is thanks to over 22 years of collaborative efforts to protect and conserve this region.
Cabo Pulmo was decreed as a National Park in 1995, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 2005 and finally a Ramsar International Wetlands site in 2008. Because of these efforts Cabo Pulmo has the largest coral reef in the Gulf of California, estimated to be 20,000 years old, and tourists come from all over the world to dive in the reef and take amazement in the flourishing marine population.
The protected status of this region has empowered the community to protect and take pride in the beauty of their home. However, this precious space faces threats due to rapid developments in the surrounding region. Since the late 20th century, Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo became booming tourism destinations and today attract well over 2 million visitors annually. The rapid increase in tourism has led to new threats and impacts on the reefs and marine species, as well as the people who live in these communities. Residents enforce the park regulations, clean the beaches, and do everything they can to protect the ecosystem, nevertheless more work needs to be done as plans have been presented to construct mega-projects consisting of over 30,000 hotel rooms (equivalent to doubling the current offer of Los Cabos).
In response to these threats, the Cabo Pulmo Vivo Coalition was formed. Made up of local organizations, citizens, academics, researchers and members of the community, this coalition has made it their collaborative mission to protect the natural and cultural heritage of Cabo Pulmo by focusing on the sustainable development the region. The coalitions wants to maintain the beauty of the region and work to advance environmental conservation and increase public awareness and participation in land use decisions. This skilled and respected team strengthens the management of the National Park, promotes effective leadership within the community, maintains legal actions to prevent the authorization of new projects and brings awareness to the benefits of protecting Cabo Pulmo.
Maintaining the stunning beauty of this region and preventing exploitation of the home of many locals, including its marine dwellers, is vital to keeping the region thriving and welcoming to conscious visitors, like you. If you would like to contribute to the important conservation work of Cabo Pulmo, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the East Cape Strategic Action Fund at the International Community Foundation.
*Photo by: Ralph Le Hopkins
* This is a repost with permission from Destino Magazine