Entering the town of Chichiriviche in Falcón State in the northwestern coastal region of Venezuela and immersed in the Morrocoy National Park, go through a road where both sides apparently you can only see weeds. But if you stop to look behind the vegetation (only if you manage to overcome your desire to reach the beaches) you will find a true Caribbean paradise.
There is a Wildlife Refuge completely forgotten, people pass by without even noticing or slow down the car to enjoy the view of these sites or their animals, they just think it’s another landfill of plastic or glass bottles not to mention the polluting plastic bag which unfortunately we saw both sides of the road.
The Cuare Wildlife Refuge is a world in itself. Its beauty saturates the senses, its exuberant explosion of nature reminds us of the infinite splendor of life. If it could talk it would ask: Let me be!
This refuge was established on May 31, 1972, by Decree 991, published in Official Gazette No. 29,820 of June 2, 1972. In November 1988 joins the Wetlands list of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention.
A territory too rich to be considered as any destination . At the visit each one will have where to choose the ecstasy: in shades of green, on its rugged cliffs, in their colored birds that fill the sky, in its winding paths of water through mangroves and swamps.
Among the most attractive birds notably the red ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
With an area of 11,853 hectares, it is part of the Cuare Gulf , a bay of 1,982 hectares that extends along the northern slope of Cerro Chichiriviche. A body of water is connected to the sea by an outfall of more than 500 meters wide, with an average depth of two meters and is bordered by mangroves, canals and caves.
The southern slopes of Cerro Chichiriviche is composed by evergreen and semideciduous forests in the eastern side overlooks a deciduous (which loses its leaves during the dry season) and the northwestern slope is characterized by steep cliffs, visible from the sea side, of which cracks is developed a particular vegetation type.
The cliffs are surrounded by high forests, in some places, descend almost to the sea and are confused with the dense mangrove.
The Cuare Wildlife Refuge is located in the floodplain of the river Tocuyo and receives input of the Sanare river and intermittent courses that are born in Cerro Chichiriviche to the south: Dieguito watershed, San Pedrico outfall, San Juanico outfall and Barón. When the Tocuyo river overflows the fresh water comes into contact with the sea carrying the soil nutrients.
Thanks to this, in its waters and mangroves grow the mangrove oyster of great economic value for the people.
Cuare also is close to theTucurere river, which in the rainy season floods its own plain which it was enacted Wildlife Reserve. For this closeness, in this refuge you can see parrots and other birds of terrestrial ecosystems.
It houses around 300 species of birds plus lots of reptiles and endangered mammals. It is a major of wetland areas in Latin America.
In general, as with all coastal areas that possess plains of large rivers discharge, the drainage in the area is poor due to the low slope of the land characteristic to give rise to tracts of land with flooding regime, in turn depends on rainfall patterns and tides.
In the area is defined clearly two climatic periods, the dry and rainy, this last with two annual peaks. During the rainy season increases the supply of water from rivers, flooding the lagoons, maintaining this highly productive system between June and January.
For its part, the Cuare Gulf , which gives the name to the Refuge, is a coastal bay of 1,982 hectares that extends along the northern slope of Cerro Chichiriviche.
It is a permanent body of water connected directly to the sea by an outfall of about 560 meters wide, allowing it to maintain high stability in their physical and chemical conditions, except for periodic changes in salinity determined by the contributions of freshwater of the intermittent streams of Cerro Chichiriviche and from the Sanare river and El Estero and Dieguito watersheds.
This Gulf has an average of 2 meters deep and is bordered by mangrove forests and numerous canals and caves.
Mangroves create habitats for shelter, feeding, reproduction and development of numerous species of invertebrates fish, several fishing interest.
Among the most attractive birds notably the flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber) and red ibis (Eudocimus ruber), which use the marshes and some keys, plus many species of herons and migratory birds that use temporary areas for resting and feeding facility.
The area is also used by endangered species such as the alligator from the coast (Crocodylus acutus) several sea turtles including the Hawksbill.
Let me tell you that we had on our visit a magical encounter with a brother Cayman from the Costa (In the photo above), which delighted in our warm weather water under a midday sun made its appearance a unique experience.
Wetlands are aquatic ecosystems, natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, sweet, salty and savory, including marine extensions to the deepest limit of coral reefs and aquatic plants, or in its absence to six meters deep measured during low tide .
These ecosystems provide fertile land, firewood and timber, fish and water, transportation, storm protection, shoreline stabilization, water purification, retention of pollutants and recreation.
Cuare also is a major wetland in Latin America and number one in Venezuela.
It is a pity the little interest in the conservation of these places, being the road full of garbage. At some time it was built viewpoints for bird watching along the road but they are in total ruin, about the smell forget about it, and if you risk to get into them you can fall without being able to see anything and that since the construction have not been maintained and never have cleaned the brush, is already so grown that impairs the vision …
Someone told me that the distance is not part of forgetting and a part of my memory stay in Cuare forever …
Our eternal gratitude to Ms. Teresa Jimenez and farm owners of Tibana in Flamingo Avenue.
By Gustavo Carrasquel | ANCA24