by Rick LoBello
Earlier this year after reading a number of Facebook posts on the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition group page, I met Ray Aguilar and his friend Nestor Acosta from Juarez on Zoom. Ray and his friends are working to protect the Sierra de Juarez mountain range and other desert mountain areas in northern Chihuahua, Mexico.
Very few people are aware of the biodiversity of the Sierra de Juarez overlooking the city which according to Ray is very vulnerable to urbanization. The mountain range is located within the same Rio Grande Valley as the Franklin Mountains in El Paso and the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces. Unfortunately, expanding developments in the city combined with the impact of the border wall are a major impediment to wildlife corridors that historically connected the mountain ranges.
For the most part the Sierra de Juarez has been abandoned by the Mexican government and today people drop their trash around the area, illegally remove plants and animals that are often sold, drive off road vehicles all over while companies destroy natural resources as they develop the area and use the mountains as one giant dumping ground.
Ray and his group called Defensa De La Sierra de Cuidad Juarez hope to change all that. He often posts pictures of the area’s biodiversity and helps to call attention to other conservation issues threatening the desert mountain region in the Samalayuca Dune Fields area and the Sierra Presidio.
Defensa De La Sierra de Cuidad Juarez wants to distribute as much information as possible on why this region is important to the area while encouraging the government to take all necessary steps to stop the uncontrolled destruction of wildlife habitat. A new website is in development and anyone who wants to help can contact the group by email at Sierradeciudadjuarez@gmail.com or text at 011 52 656 214 4109.
Spadefoot Toad – Jasper Nance, Wikimedia Creative Commons
Cover and bottom – Simon Foot, Wikimedia Creative Commons