Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve
Located in the Bolonchen District of the Puuc region of Yucatan, Mexico, the Bio-Cultural reserve is a privately owned entity managed by Kaxil Kiuic, A.C. It consists of 4,000 acres of dry tropical forest and contains within it the ancient Maya center of Kiuic, Gathering Place in English, known by Stephens & Catherwoods Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan as well as the remains of the historic community of San Sebastian. The nearest village to the reserve is Xul, The End, in English.
The abundant and diverse flora and fauna found within the reserve make it one of the best remaining zones of dry tropical forest in the Yucatan Peninsula. The ecological and cultural resources of the reserve are protected, and 50 hectares of the Maya center of Kiuic have been officially donated by Kaxil Kiuic to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Kiuic is one of the first archaeological sites that has been acquired officially by the INAH in Yucatan and will be preserved in its entirety within the protection of the bio-cultural reserve that surrounds it.
This initiative represents a new model for development in Mexico to manage its ecological and cultural resources. Like that of the Jaguar, one of the eight operating and functional programs the reserve is hosting. The Jaguar project is set to launch its first phase of long-term observation to protect the endangered species.
The jaguar (Panthera Onca) is the largest feline in the Americas, and the top or “keystone” predator in its range. Once plentiful from the central U.S. to southern Argentina, the ancient Maya associated this charismatic animal with nobility, fertility and the afterlife.
Today deforestation, illegal hunting and habitat fragmentation from human infrastructure threaten the jaguar with extinction.
Following legislation in November 2011 declaring the Puuc State Biocultural Reserve, which includes the private Kaxil Kiuic reserve, Puuc Jaguar Conservation was formed to protect this big cat in the Puuc Hills of southern Yucatan. Fieldwork will begin January 2013, in the 135,000 hectarea reserve to assess population density and address key threats to the jaguar in the Puuc.