The Eco Park “Flamingo of Helímenes Perozo”, an almost pristine ecotourism destination where magic and adventure come together from travel as a vehicle for reunion with nature , a complementary experience of environmental education and awareness of landscape values.
With a clear sky in the air the beginning of an adventure is dismissed, the rolling waves draw the starting point of our experience in the estuary biome Lake Maracaibo, all eyes are on the horizon anxious to see what lies ahead the trip.
The expedition team with specialists Biologist Miguel Pietrangeli, botanical researcher and expert ornithologist Lermith Torres also wildlife photographer , Gustavo Carrasquel Environmental advisor of Environmental Education of the Foundation Ecoparks Zulia, formed the crew that went by boat to a place on the coast where the fire of the sun and the wind caress captivating who accepts enter a natural refuge of mangrove landscapes that invite to contemplate.
When you hear to talk about Professor Lermith Torres who is one of the most renowned specialists in the Caribbean flamingos , you can feel the passion and love that prints in his work.
Leaving very early Maracaibo city by boat or from the Altagracia Harbor, you will be happy to observe and visualize the activity in the Maracaibo Lake and within minutes of face encounter with a barrier near the sacred mangroves Wildlife Refuge ” Swamp of the Olivitos ” covering 26,000 hectares. This space is declared a nature reserve in 1986 and in 1991, named as Fishing Reserve , then in 1996 it is positioned to fifth place in the Ramsar Category in Venezuela .
You can enter by Caño Viejo, point where only arrive scouts and travelers who have already visited , we drove through a tunnel of red and black mangrove where a gallery of shimmering waters act as refracting mirrors with the sun, causing a reflection capable of inmutar senses , illuminating the entire forest and the eyes of those who see it .
It is an exciting journey where they can glimpse exotic species like red grunt ( Eudocimus ruber ) birds with curved and long beaks, dressed in scarlet red with a plumage of intense color, the gray heron ( Ardea cinerea ) , elegant in its position strong legs to the back and neck in an ” S ” shape and the famous kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) , a difficult bird to photograph its swift flight , this little bird crystal brown eyes , full of vivid colors , bright blue and green , he walked away from a sky of water surrounded by mangroves and almost iridescent feathers , besides a majestic bird biodiversity .
As we crossed the path of the water surface in the middle of this land of dreams, we were contemplating how was the Olive Cotua , fell on a mangrove branch ( Phalacrocorax olivaceus ) known for its sober black plumage and numerous amounts of species , the tops of the mangroves, as taciturn and stopped time, maintaining their open wings waiting to dry then to go in the water .
In the log of the crew framed one of many memories , as the boat sailed , a trail of sand removed by the water, on which Pelicans accompanied us important part of the journey, it could be seen as rising up reach and landed , these waterfowl floating near the boat , some of these birds then flew in a semicircle , pushing their wings hard against the water with the intention of finding fish for their livelihood. In large groups we watched several subspecies of Pelecanidae ( Pelicans ) family some with their white plumage , some with dark and light gray complexion.
This species as known to the skies and the shores of Lake Maracaibo , the pelican receives mention as Regional Bird of Zulia State and is called by the common as (Buchón bird) for the big bag hanging below the bottom of its orange robust and long beak that serves as a net for fishing in the water.
Fascinated by the white flight of pelicans who accompanied the trip, 30 minutes after we spotted a huge saline geological formation of mangroves called Corians , this is where to get the focal attraction represents one of the largest reservoirs of iconic bird -flamingo ( Phoenicopterus ) , known in our bioregion as Togogo, this name is given by the fishermen attributed by the sound emitted by the bird .
The bog that we sailed ranks the second in the Caribbean in breeding and conservation of flamingos , with a population of up to 110,000 species according to the latest estimates of Professor Torres .
Further notes that so far the shelter has 195 bird species of which 185 are documented , Professor Torres points out that in this space come to feed five species of sea turtles, the 7 that exist in the world , loggerhead , hawksbill , Cardona and Kemp , also inhabit this reserve mammals like the anteater and raccoon , it is one of the main areas of conservation for the American crocodile .
Marveling at the natural beauty Miguel Pietrangeli refers to be facing a fragile ecosystem , with a composition with well dominated trees with red and black mangrove and dry zone species such as cactus , olive, yabo and cují being these mainly populate swamp forest.
Zulia State has many natural attractions that are configured as spaces for the preservation and the Ecotourism Park ” The Flamingos of Helímenes Perozo ” protects 6000 hectares of mangrove forests present in this important ecosystem . It is a wonderful ecological heritage that is in the middle of a diverse area in the Bioregion Lake Maracaibo , prepared as a destination for eco-tourists and adventurers respectful of nature.
And is that the Eco Park “Flamingo of Helímenes Perozo” is adventure tourism , whale and contemplation amidst a virtually pristine complex ecosystem , which offers to visitors a colorful spectacle , emotions, learning and introspection.
Viviana Camacho – Gustavo Carrasquel | Environmental Journalists
Photographs | Viviana Camacho