Vulcan Materials Company
Conservation of biodiversity and environmental services in the Mesoamerican Reef
Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Certified through 2022
Habitat and movement of the jaguar (Panthera onca) in a landscape dominated by humans in the Yucatan Peninsula
About the Program
The Vulcan Materials Company SAC-TUN site lies on the easternmost part of the Yucatan Peninsula in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The site contains over 1,140 hectares of low and medium sub-perennial forests and is home to at least 130 species of plants and 384 species of vertebrates, including 21 that are endemic to Mexico. In addition to managing Vulcan property, the team conducts conservation activities in Ejido Manuel Antonio Ay, a nearby community, as establishing habitat on neighboring properties is crucial for fostering habitat connectivity.
The unexploited land is relatively undisturbed, characterized by abundant false tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum)
and turpentine trees (Bursera simaruba
). Limestone extraction has led to artificial lakes, filled with groundwater, that are becoming important habitat for the local fauna. The project is part of SAC-TUN’s long-term environmental strategy, launched in September 2019, which encompasses actions to restore exploited lands, to reduce the impact of the company’s new operations, and to help the company to become a leader in the conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef, the second most important coral reef on the planet.
Practices and Impacts
- Using camera traps, the team works with the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro to collect data and address critical scientific questions regarding the survival of the jaguar and its habitat in a landscape dominated by humans. In addition to evaluating the habitat and prey necessary for jaguar survival, the project also seeks to document and evaluate the presence and abundance of other mammals within the area. Vulcan shares information with schools, government agencies, and the public by conducting local and national outreach.
- Baseline data collected in 2018 identified 24 species on-site (including pumas, ocelots, margays and jaguarundis) and identified four individual jaguars on the premises. This information was used to relocate on-site camera stations and refine the team’s baiting strategy.
- On-the-ground monitoring activities have been ongoing since September 2019, and have included wildlife observations, documenting tracks, scat sampling for DNA analysis, camera trapping, snare traps, veterinary health evaluations and collar radio transmissions. By studying species’ presence and relative abundance, in addition to jaguars’ movement, predatory behavior, and overall health, the team aims to improve their land management strategy and their approach to collaborative work done with neighboring landowners.
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