Spanish newspaper El Pais says Jardines de la Reina in Cuba remains as it was 50 years ago

Posted: 21-Dec-15 09:15

Extending over 367 square miles of land and water, the Cuban natural reserve, located in the island's southern coast, is one of the largest marine protected areas in the country. The place also stands among the most desirable destinations for diving enthusiasts, but the environmental control and restrictions on touristic exploitation have managed to preserve it in its original pristine condition. El Pais says its "seabed shows how all the Caribbean was" a half a century ago.

Spanish newspaper El Pais says Jardines de la Reina in Cuba remains as it was 50 years ago

Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen), located in the southeastern part of Cuba and also known as the island's number one “sharks' paradise” has been described by Spanish newspaper El País as a:

"... a pristine landscape, where no buildings or infrastructure alters the ecosystem."

The archipelago, situated 50 miles away from the mainland, was discovered in the 15th century by Cristopher Colombus, who named the area in honour of his queen, Isabel de Castilla. In a recent visit to the reserve, a reporter for the Spanish publication, Manuel González found that everything there:

"It's kept virtually in the same conditions that it was when Spanish sailors sailed through the waters first."

The piece published by the newspaper highlights the authenticity of the landscape, formed by several islands, canals and lagoons. Mangroves are also significant in the area, providing a fantastic niche for small fish's populations.

Famous for the variety of sharks that can be observed there and by the ongoing efforts to preserve the population of shark species by the National Center of Marine Ecosystems (Centro Nacional de Ecosistemas Marinos), the Cuban natural park has become a point of reference for marine biologists and researches.

El País comments on the impressive amount of sharks living in the park, such as the silky, the mere giant, the gray of the reef, the hammer shark and the whale shark.

Beyond what thrives beneath its waters, Jardines de la Reina also has remarkable terrestrial landscapes with coraline sand beaches and a multitude of birds, iguanas, crocodiles and the endemic jutía (a large rodent somewhat resembling a giant guinea pig). Such diversity is mentioned in the article, in which González also uses adjectives as “extraordinary” and “spectacular” to describe the beauty and pristine state of the area.

Unlike other areas in the Caribbean this natural reserve has survived almost intact paradoxically due to Cuba´s economic constraints. In other areas where trade, oil exploitation and touristic industry are more developed, coral reefs are doomed almost to extinction.

More recently, officials from the US and Cuba have signed agreements that will be beneficial for marine ecosystems, but since 2012 the American Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund are participating in joints projects with local scientists for the development of environmental research and protection. On 21st October, a long-term governmental plan on this issue was launched in the island in cooperation with American partners.


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