Date: July 28, 1998
Contact: Dan Evans
Help save the X’cacel sea turtle nesting beach from Development!
X’cacel, Quintana Roo, Mexico is located about 100 km south from Cancun and has two small beaches about 2.5 km long. It has the highest density of sea turtle nests per kilometer of beach (160 nests/km) in the entire region and its 86% hatchling survival rates is one of the highest. Recent DNA studies on Quintana Roo’s loggerhead sea turtles have determined that they are a unique nesting aggregate within the Caribbean, making its conservation a priority for the whole region.
Unfortunately, powerful economic interests won over the demand made by environmental NGOs, scientists and community for the protection and conservation of X’cacel. In February 1998, the fiduciary “Caleta de Xel-ha y del Caribe” (FIDECARIBE) announced the sale of 45 hectares of X’cacel to the Spanish consortium Melia.
The area where Melia plans to build its hotel is mainly tropical dry forest, mangrove and coastal dune bush. It is this vegetation, along with the necessary characteristics like temperature, humidity, slope, no obstacles, grain size, etc., that make the beach at X’cacel an ideal nesting site for sea turtles.
Some of the protected species found in X’cacel’s 311 hectares, besides loggerhead and green sea turtles are the boa constrictor, marsh turtle, Creaser’s mud turtle, crocodile, Chit, Hoo’loop, mangrove, and subi’n. X’cacel, along with the adjoining beaches of Aventuras-DIF and Chemuyil, are the most important green and loggerhead nesting beaches in the state of Quintana Roo. However, all of these beaches have been sold to developers by Fideicomiso Caleta de Xeh-ha y del Caribe (FIDECARIBE).
In 1994 the Ecological Group of the Mayab (GEMA) proposed officially incorporating X’cacel into the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP) and completed all of the necessary requirements, however, the National Institute of Ecology (INE) rejected GEMA’s proposal, stating that X’cacel was not unique enough! Based on studies of the area, X’cacel is should be considered a very unique area.
Today the only protected area is the zone between 60 and 100 meters up the beach. The rest of the area has been sold to developers, such as the Melia hotel chain, who plan extensive tourist development.
Please let your voice be heard, send letters or e-mails supporting the inclusion of X’cacel into the National System of Protected Areas and the prevention of any construction on X’cacel’s 311 hectares! Fragile ecosystems, such as X’cacel, are easily destroyed by the pressures of a tourist development. Please contact the officials listed below and help protect a very important sea turtle nesting beach!
M. EN C. JULIA CARABIAS LILO (Secretary of the environment, natural resources, and fisheries)
PERIFERICO SUR 4209 6o PISO
COL JARDINES DE LA MONTA-A
MEXICO D. F. 06500
TEL (5) 6280606 , 6280607 and 6280608
FAX (5) 6280609
ING. MARIO VILLANUEVA MADRID (Governor of Quintana Roo)
CALLE 22 DE ENERO S/N 2o PISO
PALACIO DE GOBIENRO
CD. CHETUMAL 77000
FAX: (983) 24257
SR. ERNESTO ZEDILLO PONCE DE LEON
PRESIDENCIA DE LA REPUBLICA
RESIDENCIA PRESIDENCIAL DE LOS PINOS
MEXICO D. F.
PEDRO ALVAREZ ICAZA
DIRECTOR DE ORDENAMIENTO ECOLOGICO E IMPACTO AMBIENTAL
Director of the National Institute of Ecology
MELIA MANAGEMENT FOR AMERICA
MR. EVAGRIO SANCHEZ
1000 BRICKELL AVE, SUITE 500
MIAMI, FL. 33131
FAX: (+1) 305-358.51.66