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NATURE

MEXICO

Mexico, a colourful land of superb natural settings, is the geographical nexus between Central and North America, thus this has an effect on the variety of its natural scenarios, presenting deserts, forests, valleys of greenness, mountainous zones, tropical coasts, in short, almost all the landscapes on the planet.

Mexican morphology is the result of an intense volcanic activity and of the impact of the tectonic plates, which have originated 70 percent of the country's territory to be mountainous. The Sierra Madre is the main mountain range and it is divided in three sectors.

The eastern sector runs parallel to the Pacific Coast and has an altitude of 2200 metres, the western one is close to the Gulf of Mexico and its altitude is of 2250 metres, and the southern zone, also close to the Pacific, has an altitude of 2000 metres.

The Central High Plateau, which represents 10 percent of Mexico's territory and houses 50 percent of the country's population, is located in the middle of these mountains; the so-called Transversal Volcanic Axis, regarded since 1940 as the physiographic division between North and Central America, is located towards the south; it is a climatic border as well.

Due to its variegated geographic settings, Mexico has areas for the reproduction of the most important wild species on the continent. Besides, the country is a sanctuary for multiple migratory species due to its weather and vegetation, such as the sea turtle, the grey whale, the monarch butterfly, the pink flamingo, the goose and the grey crane, amongst others.
10 percent of the world's flora grows in this land of contrasts, with 30000 species of flowers and more than a thousand varieties of orchids. 2896 species of vertebrates live in the middle of this vegetation (520 mammals, 1424 birds, 685 reptiles and 267 amphibians; of which 16 mammal species, 13 birds and 9 reptiles are on the brink of extinction).

Marine life is intense as well; green turtles seek refuge in the Gulf of Baja California and there are numerous colonies of sea elephants on the Islands of San Benito and Guadalupe; the latter were almost extinct by the early XX century, although their population was of over 47000 individuals in the 1970s.

Even the most spectacular of the aquatic mammals, the grey whale, comes to the coastal area to mate or give birth every year; they come from the Bering Sea, in Alaska. Chased relentlessly during more than 100 years, they were on the brink of extinction, though nowadays its population has recuperated.

Mexico also shows an important variety of birds (1424 species out of the 9000 existing on the planet), and we can appreciate in the same geographic space specimens of tropical, migratory and endemic origins. There are 35 species of swans, geese and ducks in the northern and central parts of the country, most of them coming from the United Sates and Canada.

Ornithologists frequently visit the Lagoons of Chachahua National Park in the State of Oaxaca, and the Sumidero Canyon in the State of Chiapas.

On the other hand, the central part of Mexico is the scenario of one of the most beautiful spectacles in nature every year in November. Millions of monarch butterflies arrive in El Rosario Reserve, in the State of Michoacán, after a kilometric journey from Canada and the United States, to lay their eggs in the forests of pine trees. The abundant flora and fauna of the Mexican territory is protected by the National System of Natural Areas, and the protected zones have the categories of Biosphere Reserves, National Parks (50), Marine Parks and Natural Monuments. One of the largest sanctuaries is the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, in Quintana Roo, which has tropical forests, wetlands, coastal lagoons, mangroves, canals, and even part of the longest coral reef in the world (with 60 different species of coral); a paradise where turtles, howler monkeys, crocodiles, pumas, ocelots, jaguars and hundreds of bird and fish species dwell. Surrounded by four seas, Mexico has beautiful beach destinations such as Acapulco, Cancun, the entrance door to the Mayan World, the tourist corridor of Los Cabos, in Baja California, where there are wonderful coral reefs inhabited by thousands of multicoloured fish, and Huatulco, near Oaxaca, with splendid coral reefs. So now you know dear traveller, Mexico is a natural paradise that you cannot fail to visit and enjoy.
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