¿Qué sería de Cancún y la Riviera Maya sin caracoles rosas?

Estás en las hermosas playas de Cancún y la Riviera Maya, en una playa amplísima, tranquila, de arena blanca y con el inconfundible azul del Mar Caribe que se funde con el cielo. Y de pronto te encuentras un caracol grande, cuyo interior tiene un intenso color rosa tornasolado. Y poniéndolo en tu oreja, escuchas el rumor del mar…

¿Verdad que es la fantasía de todos los que visitamos la playa? Un caracol para nuestra playa solitaria. Un caracol como el que utilizaron los antiguos habitantes de América para convocar a los dioses. Un caracol como el que ahora puedes comprar en muchas tiendas de artesanías en prácticamente todas las ciudades y pueblos costeros del Mar Caribe.

Pero… ¿sabías que es una especie amenazada? ¿Sabías que ese caracol es la casa de un animalito que suele consumirse en deliciosos platillos caribeños y que la caza desmesurada ha provocado la disminución de ejemplares?

En Quintana Roo existe una veda que incluye el mes de febrero y el período de mayo a octubre, para individuos con talla mínima de captura de 20 centímetros y cuota de captura de 6 toneladas para Banco Chinchorro; mientras que en los demás sitios su pesca está prohibida. No obstante, el caracol está sobreexplotado y en algunas áreas es una especie extinta, pues ha sido sometido a una pesca ilegal e intensa, encontrándose carne de caracol en restaurantes y mercados durante todo el año.

Afortunadamente, en Xel-Há se está haciendo una importante investigación para rescatar a este icono de Cancún, la Riviera Maya y prácticamente todas las ciudades del Mar Caribe.

La hermosa caleta azul turquesa se ha convertido en un santuario del caracol rosa (strombus gigas), y es aquí donde investigadores Universidad James Cook de Australia, de la Universidad de Bretaña Occidental (UBO) de Francia, así como del Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (CINVESTAV-IPN), trabajan en conjunto para analizar sus hábitos, cómo y cuándo se reproducen y cuánto tiempo les lleva. Así se desarrollarán mejores programas de conservación para esta frágil especie.

Cada vez que visitas Xel-Há, contribuyes a la realización de esta investigación internacional. Además, puedes admirar al caracol rosa en plena actividad. Eso sí, necesitas estar muy atento, porque los caracoles rosas no son tan lentos como crees, y se esconden bajo la arena.

¿Has venido a Xel-Há y has visto a los caracoles rosas? ¿Qué animalito de los que conociste en tu visita te gustó más? ¡La riqueza natural de Cancún y la Riviera Maya es sorprendente!

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