CubaPLUS Magazine

The Río Máximo wildlife refuge

By: Amanda Bedia
Nov 14, 2023
The Río Máximo wildlife refuge

It is not just any enclave and it is worth having the satisfaction of knowing it if we are attracted to lonely coastal places teeming with wildlife, although they are remote and difficult to access. I will tell you about the Máximo River Wildlife Refuge, a site haunted like those loved by the romantic poets of the 19th century, Only here there are almost never leaden skies and the temperature is very warm, with very cool gusts.

rio-maximo-3.jpgBut don't be fooled, it's a fragile ecosystem, in the middle of the tropics, recently converted into a RAMSAR site and Protected area, by international and national specialists, respectively. It is located on the northern coast of the central eastern Cuban province of Camagüey, spread over an area of 22.58 km2, of which 64% are near seawater, making an influential salinization process on its earth's surface. Wildlife finds a nest, in proportions that have accumulated a mass of up to 180,000 specimens, the beautiful Cuban pink flamingos  (Phonicopterus ruber ruber), the largest colony in the region of the Antilles and the Caribbean.

Other seabirds find in its properties the ideal place for reproduction and nests, but abundant feeding as part of the life cycles that occur there incessantly on the part of other zoological orders. Seabird endemism is among the highest in the region of Central America, while experts believe that regarding the crocodile American (Cocodrylus acutus) is an aquifer with an outstanding endowment . There are colonies of manatees very worthy of admiration, all since these are very rare animals today, protected by strict conservation laws. Flanked by the currents of the Máximo and Camagüey rivers, we emphasize that it is difficult to access and is not very visited, although It arouses great interest among naturalists and ecologists.

rio-maximo-4.jpgRegion protected since 1998 by authorities and scientific personnel, under the administration of the Flora and Fauna Company of the Ministry of Agriculture has gone through very difficult times due to processes of pollution caused by human activity, but its present and future are not uncertain, but show obvious achievements. It is a complex and difficult endeavor. The visitor to such a splendid natural setting today has the reward to be able to admire on the terrestrial side, in the elevations of the Sierra of Cubitas and Camaján, beautiful forests that extend from the the very banks of the rivers and streams to the coastlines.

theThe fauna is rich in diversity of species, especially birds, with 36 representatives of that group, 15 native, 2 endemic, and 11 subspecies. The basin has two protected areas: the refuge of Río Máximo fauna and the Limones-Tuabaquey ecological reserve. The Sierra de Cubitas ecological reserve offers us walks through its winding paths between green and flowered hills, explore galleries, navigate a labyrinth of almost virginal islands and return to the plain impregnated with the strong aroma of the tropical forest of the Antillean Pearl.

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