Protecting Habitat of the Goode’s Thornscrub Tortoise in Partnership with The Turtle Conservancy

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Nature and Culture International has worked to protect landscapes all over Latin America for 26 years. Many of the ecosystems we safeguard are rainforests, such as areas of the Amazon, but did you know we also protect a large region of tropical deciduous forest in Mexico?

Since 2004, Nature and Culture has been working with Mexico’s National Park Service in the Alamos region to protect valuable biodiversity and habitats for endangered species. Our Monte Mojino Reserve (ReMM), in Southern Sonora, Mexico, supports a vast array of keystone species, such as the jaguar, migratory birds, and the recently discovered Goode’s Thornscrub Tortoise, which requires protection due to its vulnerable listed status.

Goode's Thornscrub Tortoise
The Goode's Thornscrub Tortoise was first documented by scientists in 2016. A large population of this species lives on Nature and Culture's Monte Mojino Reserve, in Mexico.

The identification of the Goode’s Thornscrub Tortoise in this area of Mexico is one of the reasons for our partnership with The Turtle Conservancy. The Turtle Conservancy purchased a nearby 999-acre area of Tropical Deciduous Forest called the San Pablo Nature Preserve which, because of its proximity to the ReMM, was integrated into the reserve and came under our protection and management.

Owl in Monte Mojino Reserve
The San Pablo Nature Preserve was shown to be an incredibly biodiverse region.

The San Pablo Nature Preserve was shown to contain a rich population of this vulnerable tortoise species, and provides excellent tortoise habitat, as well as being a highly biodiverse area. The Goode’s Thornscrub tortoise has a small habitat range and is threatened by climate change, habitat conversion, disease, food and pet trade, invasive species, and native predators; therefore, protecting this area was incredibly important to the survival of this tortoise and many other endangered species.

Cactus and mountain range landscape
Our 17,960-acre Monte Mojino Reserve is focused on protecting the best remaining tropical deciduous forests of southern Sonora.

Now an area of 17,960-acres, Nature and Culture manages the Monte Mojino Reserve and protects it from many of the threats that also puts the vulnerable Goode’s Thornscrub tortoise at risk. Our focus is to take steps to reduce habitat destruction in the reserve due to cattle grazing by reintroducing native palm species, partnering with conservation organizations for research and species monitoring, training of local staff, and outreach to local populations. In addition, we aim to expand the area further by 11,000-25,000 acres, particularly with wildlife corridors to link ecosystems. This will increase the amount of vital habitat for the Goode’s Thornscrub tortoise and other threatened species.

Cuchujaqui River
Nature and Culture's Monte Mojino Reserve covers the watershed of the Cuchujaqui River.

Follow our work to stay up to date with our major achievements and newest projects or make a gift to support our efforts to expand protected areas of such valuable habitat, like the Monte Mojino Reserve.