The Mexican National Guard has sent military reinforcements to Tulum’s Jaguar National Park to prevent illegal access to the nature reserve.
The number of agents increased at the beginning of holy week, the week before Easter, which is marked by high tourism every year.
The National Guard will be taking preventative measures across the park, but their main focus continues to be protecting park visitors from violence and crime.
This special force is in charge of protecting Tulum Jaguar National Park and the Mexican Caribbean Bioreserve.
Inspector General of the National Guard Gabriel Bautista Tapia said they “have detected people wishing to invade the diverse lands they find in the park to construct buildings. This will not be permitted since this is a protected reserve.”
“There is a need for National Guard presence to protect the people and resources of the nation found in this park,” claims Inspector General Bautista Tapia.
Jaguar National Park
In 2022, the Mexican Secretariat of Agricultural, Territorial, and Urban Development (Sedatu), announced that the jungle area around Tulum would be set aside for conservation and named Jaguar National Park.
The park would become “a space to protect Mexico’s natural, cultural, and historical wealth.”
The namesake of the park is Mexico’s top predator, the jaguar. The protected habitat allows the jaguar to make its home and breeding grounds.
Head of Sedatu, Román Meyer Falcón, explained that the park “seeks to stop excessive urban growth, particularly in the city of Tulum.”
Military Dispatched To Tourist Hotspots
The increase in National Guard presence in Jaguar National Park is part of the trend of greater military involvement in tourist areas across the Riviera Maya and all of Mexico.
Last week, 8,000 soldiers representing to National Guard, the Marines, and the Army were dispatched around the country to prevent violence and crime during the Easter holiday season.
Most of these troops were sent to beach cities like Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen.
The military was also stationed at critical infrastructure points like highways, bus stops, and airports.
The military build-up came as violence spread to major tourist areas, including Cancun and Acapulco, where eight people died in one week due to shootings.
In Cancun, four people were killed in front of the Fiesta Americana Condesa Hotel, where tourists witnessed the scene.
The National Tourism Business Council (CNET) demanded government action in response to the violence.
The organization asked that the government “ensure that the country’s tourist destinations be spaces of personal, social, and patrimonial security so that the local population and the national and international tourists can visit.”
“The country and the tourism destinations should not and cannot continue living in an environment of violence and insecurity,” said CNET.
Locals and tourists alike have been the victims of the violence.
An American teenager was shot in the leg while vacationing in Cancun at the end of March this year.
As the Mexican government takes action to protect natural lands from degradation and violence, tourists can also play a role in protecting the public lands they visit.
Recent blackouts and water shortages in Holbox highlight the need for tourists to practice tourism sustainably while visiting the Riviera Maya.
Simple actions by tourists can protect the communities and natural spaces that they visit, according to the United Nations.
In places where the tourism industry relies on ecological resources, such as the Riviera Maya, it is essential to avoid littering.
After the busy Easter holidays, beaches around Cancun were filled with the trash left by tourists, putting strain on local resources and environments.
Given the high concentration of bio reserves and protected areas in the Yucatan Peninsula, it is especially important to throw away trash responsibly.
In general, tourists tend to use far more water than locals.
When traveling where freshwater resources are preserved for natural environments, simple choices can make a big difference.
The UN suggests that tourists opt out of daily washing of sheets and towels while staying at hotels to ease the pressure on local ecosystems.
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