Wildlife in Guatemala is unique, as in few places in the world. To better understand this, it is worth understanding the natural history of this country:
Phallus indusiatus at Paso Caballos, PNLT. Photo by: Boris Llamas. August 2021.
Guatemala is located in between two broad continental masses that support almost every kind of ecosystem in the world: swamps, deserts, jungles, rainforests, temperate forests and glaciers. As such, its location is determinant in the diversity of species that live here and those that temporarily displace through the country (such is the case, for example, of the many migratory birds that use Guatemala as an strategic point in their migrations).
More precisely, the species that inhabit Guatemala, have evolved from the crossing of both the species of North America and South America. In that sense, Guatemala harbors tropical jungle species that distribute down to Argentina, as well as species from cold and mountainous ecosystems which distribute up to Alaska.
Pandion halietus. Photo by: Edwin Solares. January 2023.
Put in other words, local wildlife is a mixture of species, which results from the fact that Guatemala is located in the natural bridge that is Central America. But not only that, Guatemala’s mountainous topography and its abundance of hydrographic basins allow the existence of a great number of life zones, which shelter all kinds of organisms. That is why Guatemala’s wildlife and biodiversity is as in few places in the world.
Leaving aside its singularity, the value of local wildlife is also important for its influence in our development as human beings. The bond we keep with the earth and all the species that live in it has made it possible for us to create today’s economic systems and to discover plenty of applications for our daily life derived from other organisms.
Tliltocatl vagans at Paso Caballos, PNLT. Photo by: Roxana Leal. August 2021.
In the modern society and lifestyle, both nature and wildlife can help us to relax, get inspired and to achieve a greater amount of well being, even when we have displaced many species from the majority of cities.
Derivative of that, it is important that we recognize the value of wildlife and that we act appropriately to protect those species that still inhabit the world nowadays. Additionally, it is important that as a society we work out the actions that will let us conserve the landscapes and natural areas that remain healthy. As an example, people in Guatemala can protect the Maya Biosphere Reserve (RBM) and other protected areas. The RBM in particular is a unique area with great natural, historical and economic value.
Alouatta pigra at El Remate, Petén. Photo by: David Arrivillaga. June 2021.
Some of the actions that you can implement to protect wildlife include:
- Do not support any kind of illegal trade of plants, animals or any other species.
- Keep yourself informed about the legislation in Guatemala and support those law proposals that seek to protect wildlife.
- Talk with your family and friends about such laws and how to protect wildlife. Also support those organizations that look after wildlife with your voice, vote and participation.
- Reduce your footprint in the environment by making more conscious decisions. There are habits and decisions as a consumer that you can change.
Epidendrum nocturnum at Paso Caballos, PNLT. Photo by: Boris Llamas. August 2021.
Written by: Sergio D’angelo Jerez