Category: Nature

Intimacy of the fireflies turns attraction in sanctuary in Mexico

In this tour, tourists are prohibited from using cell phones because any light interference affects the mating dance of the fireflies.

Known as Mexico’s firefly sanctuary, the Santa Clara Forest in the state of Tlaxcala attracts nature lovers because it is the scene of a unique and little-known spectacle: the mating ritual of the species.

Before the forest is silent and the fireflies invade the darkness with the brightness of their lights, a heavy rain must moisten the soil and wet the branches of the trees.

Visitors should also prepare. Hand in hand, they were a circle and follow the ritual with verses that ask the guardians of the forest access to their domains.

“We ask you, Mother Nature, to allow us to enter your forest. We come with full awareness of caring for and respecting the flora, fauna and all living being found within you. To the guardians of the forest, to take care of us and protect us during the journey, “say those present.

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Along the route created by the National Forest Commission (Conafor), one of the guides of the sanctuary, Luis Ramón Galindo, tells the Efe Agency that asking for authorization of the forest is a tradition.

After the ritual, the footsteps of visitors echo through the forest paths. They walk in a line of two and are banned from using cell phones. Any light interference affects the mating dance. Fireflies use their own light to communicate.

It is 20 minutes from the arrival to the place until the males of the species – Macrolampis Palacios – begin to descend the mountain slowly, with hundreds of timid sparks in the cold air.

“What they are doing is emitting different glares to catch the attention of females. Then they mate and continue with the process of reproduction, “explains Galindo.

Females also shine, but they do it in a more intense and lasting way. Besides, it does not fly. They wait to pick the males in the leaves. For every hundred of them there is one.

“Once the male is chosen, the female releases an aromatic substance, the pheromone. The male notes with its antennae and this is the signal that she accepts to mate, “says the guide.

After mating, the females even deposit between 100 and 150 eggs.

Professor Tania Guadalupe López, who is carrying out a research project on fireflies at the Institute of Ecology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told that there is little information on the situation of the species.

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Therefore, in partnership with the researcher Carlos Cordero, she works in the field to better understand the behavior and population size of fireflies.

The two identified two major threats to the species: pesticides used in plantations near the forest and urban sprawl that, with “light pollution”, can confuse fireflies and obstruct communication between males and females.

“Pesticides kill a range of organisms to prevent the plant, which is of interest, either sick or impaired, but by killing them, they also kill others that are important to fireflies, such as snails and slugs,” explains López.

In the sanctuary of Santa Clara, when the fireflies ritual ends, it is the moon’s turn to light the forest. On returning to the entrance to the woods, visitors again shake hands and recite farewell words, following the local tradition.

“We thank you, Mother Nature, for allowing us to enter your forest. And the guardians of the forest, who also protected us during the course. “

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Perito Moreno’s “ice bridge” rupture occurred at night and without tourists

Considered one of the most impressive natural spectacles in the world, the collapse of the ice masses occurred around 22h48 local.

The natural collapse of the bridge that the Perito Moreno glacier forms on the peninsula of Magallanes, in the southern province of Santa Cruz, in southern Argentina, happened on Sunday night and without the public.

Considered one of the most shocking natural spectacles in the world, the collapse of the ice masses that form the most picturesque part of the glacier, located in the Los Glaciares National Park, occurred at around 10:48 pm (same time in Brasilia).

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This process, which began on Saturday and did not occur since March 2016, always attracts hundreds of tourists, although this time the collapse occurred without a public due to the special security operation that closed the site overnight.

The phenomenon of rupture, natural and recurrent, is caused by the pressure that the waters of Lake Argentino exert on a natural dam that Perito Moreno, known as the ” white giant “, is conforming in its slow advance on the rocky coast.

These pressures form an arc, which ends up falling, causing a break of imposing characteristics.

On Saturday, the Intendencia responsible for the park warned that a leak was occurring “more and more evident and mighty, by which we are in a position to affirm that the process of rupture of the Perito Moreno glacier began .”

It is customary for the phenomenon to occur at this time of year, at the end of the austral summer, although in some occasions it occurred in July, in the middle of winter.

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Perito Moreno, with an extension of about 200 square kilometers, is situated on the Andes Mountains and is one of the few in the world that remains stable, without retreating as a consequence of global warming.

The glacier is 60 meters high, like a 20-story building; has a front of 5 kilometers and its surface is approximately the one of the City of Buenos Aires.

Its name honors to Francisco Moreno (1852-1919), explorer of the zone and director of the museum of the Scientific Society of this country.

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Zhangjiajie, a magical window into nature

Located in the western province of Hunan, China, the city of Zhangjiajie is lush in nature, with mountains that look like pillars, and the natural parks of the Wulingyuan region with more than 1,400 varieties of plants and 110 animal species.

The thick fog that covers the high parts of the innumerable mountains mysteriously involves an area that gained worldwide fame through the movie ” Avatar .” The filmmaker James Cameron was inspired by the place, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1992, to set the stage.

About 3 thousand reliefs of karst forms that reach 1,5 thousand meters in height sow like giant needles the forest park and the trees and plants punctuate their ridges and slopes.

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The walls of the mountains are perfect to practice climbing, and 300 km of tracks allow the practice of senderismo in a region which can be reached by cable car and after a journey of an hour’s drive from Zhangjiajie, a modern city of 1, 7 million people founded only 30 years ago.

In the park is Baofeng Lake, with jade green waters and a beautiful natural landscape surrounded by mountains and waterfalls that can be contemplated on a boat trip.

Zhangjiajie also has Tianmen Mountain (Gate of Heaven), listed as one of the most beautiful in the world and 1,500 meters high, and which is reached by the longest cable car in the world.

The trip to the summit has stunning views and dizzying cliffs, with two glass bridges that surround the mountain. The descent ends the experience by the road of the 99 curves.

Two cliffs of this mountain are joined by the glass bridge, an engineering work of 430 meters in length and 300 of height from where it is possible to admire the spectacular nature in Zhangjiajie and that since its inauguration in August 2016, was visited by 65 millions of people.

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“We are a tourist model for the whole country,” and “the aim is to raise the standard of living to world standards,” Guo Zhenggui, a Chinese Communist Party general secretary in the county, told a group of journalists.

One of the most visited places in China, Zhangjiajie wants to open up to the world and promote itself as a tourist spot, to become the main tourist destinations of the Asian country.

“Our doors are always open. Last year, we had a visit from 70 million national tourists, but we have to improve the needs of international tourism. We want to offer quality service. International training and collaboration is a very important part. “

Zhangjiajie “wants to be a green city”, and tree planting reaches 70% of its space and wants to raise that percentage.

The enclave, one of China’s most visited tourist areas in central Hunan province, home to Mao Zedong, has modern infrastructures and the railway linking the north of the country with the islands will be inaugurated within two years.

The city’s surroundings, which connect with 50 Chinese cities and nearby countries and have a major hotel offer of the highest quality, was visited last year by around 70 million tourists.

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