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Avoiding invasive flora and fauna for perfect eco Cuba holidays at Humboldt Park

  • 21-Jan-10 17:59
  • Cuba
  • Holiday Industry

For the protection of Cuba's most authentic species at the Humboldt National Park, a World Heritage Site, action is being undertaken to reduce alien species of flora and fauna invading this eco-preserve

Avoiding invasive flora and fauna for perfect eco Cuba holidays at Humboldt Park
For the ongoing protection of the ecological value of authentic Cuba holidays at one of the island’s most well preserved eco-wonders, action is being taken to prevent the invasion of alien species damaging the protected ecosystem at the at the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, a World Heritage Site where over 300 hectares are benefiting from efforts to reduce invasive alien species of flora and fauna.
Park experts Rolando Villaverde Lopez, and Gerardo Begue Quiala, a researcher and author of several studies on management and control of invasive fauna at the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, told Cuba’s Granma newspaper that while efforts were being made since last century to lessen the biological invasion at the park, outstanding for its biodiversity and endemism, over the last five years a combined drive had brought together forces from the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment, the National Flora and Fauna Protection Enterprise and local farmers to further ensure the protection of authentic eco Cuba holidays at this green reserve.
Among the actions taken to mitigate the impact of invasive species of flora there are the elimination or regulation of populations of highly dominant plants, such as the ipil-ipil, the thorny and expansive marabu, the eucalyptus, the casuarina pine trees and African tulip, the latter among the 100 most dangerous species in the world given its expanding capacity, said Villaverde.
The mitigation measures include reforesting invaded areas with native plants or others representative of the region to maintain the genuine eco appeal to those who on Cuba holidays here to witness the country’s most well preserved ecosystem.
More than 20 % of the area of the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, stretching between the provinces of Guantanamo and Holguin, is affected by the presence of these annoying invasive species, causing damage not only to the local plant population but also to the local agriculture.
Among the damaging representatives from the animal kingdom we have the wild dogs, cats and pigs, black rats, mongooses and the catfish (Clarias gariepinus), the latter threatening to become a plague given its high voracity.
Research conducted by Gerardo Begue at the Rio Hondo basin revealed that in a few years the catfish had wiped out the local joturo fish, endemic to Guantanamo and some neighboring rivers, also doing away with the local biajacas, eels and bullfrogs; a truly worrying situation for the prospect of those who take holidays to Cuba to see its most untouched nature.
As a result of physical control measures against the most dangerous invading species, between 2006 and 2007 more than 150 wild dogs were caught in several park sites, most of them at La Melba, a heavily infested area.
Wild dogs and cats attack the almiquis (Solenodon cubanus), an endangered living fossil only found in the northeastern tip of Cuba, in the Mayari and Baracoa municipalities. Traps are used against these predators, which together with the mongoose also pose a danger to people, since they transmit rabies, leptospirosis and other diseases.
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