This year, Cancun reigns supreme as the number one destination for foreign travelers, having everything any tourist would ever need for a perfect vacation.
Just outside the bustling hotel zone of the city, Cancun is surrounded by natural beauty, with one of the more visited and beloved areas being the Nichupté Lagoon.
Located on the city’s east coast, this “natural paradise” is a major destination for any tourist keen to visit natural reserves and experience their thriving biodiversity.
A warning has been released by local experts, however, due to the beginning of crocodile hatching season, which has just started in the lagoon.
Crocodile specialists are urging the public not to approach these animals, as female reptiles are known for being more protective and aggressive during this period in order to protect their eggs and could cause accidents if they feel threatened in any way.
Javier Carballar, an expert in Quintana Roo, has stated that all visitors should refrain from getting into the water or mangroves, as the reptiles will be far more territorial than in other seasons, making them extremely dangerous to be around.
Even being in the vicinity of the area is also being cautioned, as visitors who are walking may not be aware of just how close they are to the female’s nests, which tend to resemble small piles of leaves, and one wrong step could result in a fatal accident.
Javier Carballar stated, “The female is in charge of finding the ideal place for hatching. After Reproduction, a search phase begins; the females explore the surrounding environment in search of a place that has the right environmental conditions, so that’s where the crocodiles are most aggressive.”
While there are precautionary signs placed all throughout the area, as well as guides who are consistently promoting caution, pinpointing where these reptiles and their nests are can be challenging, and tourists may not notice just how close they find themselves before it could be too late.
This is a natural part of the crocodile’s reproductive cycle, and experts are asking all visitors to respect this process, which is key to the success of the local environment.
Litter Problem In The Area
Nichupté Lagoon has also seen a problem in recent months with increasing numbers of garbage and litter amounts being left in the area, causing contamination of the ‘natural paradise’, as well as animals being trapped in or eating the waste.
Alejandra Coron Contreras, a director of a local Cancun recycling drop-off center, reported only a few months ago that the amount of garbage and leftover trash had doubled compared to that of last year, collecting around 150 kilos of litter in one day.
Carballar further highlighted the importance of not leaving any litter at the destination, as the reptiles in question are unable to differentiate between plastic or glass, and will eat whatever is in these materials, which can cause damage to their system and may even result in their death.
“Most of the crocodiles we have found in Cancun have plastic in their stomach, or in more advanced cases, glass. This happens because the mangroves are contaminated, and they seek to eat, regardless of the material. This in large quantities leads to death; that is why mangroves have to be cleaned and societies [be made] aware of the importance of preserving these areas.”
While Cancun and other areas in the Mexican Caribbean see huge success in the tourism sector as it bounces back in the post-pandemic era, this popularity comes at a cost.
Increasing numbers of areas and attractions find themselves temporarily closed to the public by local authorities in order to allow nature to rebalance and still maintain its natural beauty.
Quintana Roo Governor Maria Lezama is doing everything in her power to protect tourists who travel to the state, as well as offering an endless list of areas and attractions to experience.
She is also keen, however, on preserving the natural beauty that surrounds the stunning destinations and protecting all biodiversity within them so that it can continue to be enjoyed by all for many years to come.
So if you find yourself adding Nichupté Lagoon to your bucket list this fall, make sure you are well informed of the risks, follow all instructions from guides during this reptile hatching season, and respect the stunning location so that it can remain a must-see to the public.
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