The unique stone fauna of eastern Cuba
By Ana María Ruiz, Photos: Prensa Latina
The most diverse fauna, with animals from different latitudes, can be appreciated in the province of Guantánamo, eastern Cuba, in one of the most unique natural areas of the Caribbean archipelago: the Piedras Zoo, a pleasant curiosity.
The abundant limestone formations in that territory inspired the farmer Ángel Íñigo Blanco de Anaya (1935-2014), with no academic training in visual arts, but with natural talent, some inheritance and a lot of madness, according to his fellow compatriots.
He began, taught by his father, modeling figures in clay, wax and wood of personalities and historical events, and later discovered the possibilities of the other raw material, stone.
In the rugged terrain of the San Lorenzo farm, municipality of Yateras, some 24 kilometers from the capital city of Guantánamo, this artistic zoo began its development in 1977, and since June 26, 1985, it has been part of the National Cultural Heritage.
The zoo collection contains various birds; mammals, from the elephant to sets of animals in their habitat and in action; amphibians and reptiles, among many others.
A graduate of the Academy of Visual Arts, Ángel Íñigo Pérez, son of the founder of the project, worked alongside his father and continued to enrich the area, which now houses some five hundred pieces of varying sizes.
The park covers about 26 hectares in the middle of rich vegetation punctuated by fruit trees, timber and coffee trees, 750 meters above sea level.
The place is reached by 324 steps -which are reduced to 245 on the way back-, an ascent that is worthwhile to get to know this monument to creativity and will, in beautiful surroundings and a pleasant climate.