The quetzal was a sacred bird for some cultures, such as the Aztecs and the Mayans, and they associated it with deities, but above all they related it to freedom. Today it is an emblematic symbol of the countries it inhabits, such as Guatemala and Mexico, but sadly it is in danger of disappearing in the coming decades. There are many causes that cause this bird to be in danger and the sum of all of them has caused its population to decline in recent years to the point of generating great concern, which has caused the governments and citizens of these areas to begin to seek means to help them survive and regain a healthy population.
In this AgroCorrn article we focus on the causes to explain why the quetzal is in danger of extinction in Mexico and Guatemala , as well as some of its characteristics that make it so special and in different ways to help them.
- Characteristics of the quetzal or Pharomachrus mocinno
- Why the quetzal is in danger of extinction in Mexico and Guatemala
- What can we do to save the quetzal in Mexico and Guatemala
Characteristics of the quetzal or Pharomachrus mocinno
The quetzal or Pharomachrus mocinno , also known as Mesoamerican quetzal, Central American quetzal or Guatemalan quetzal, is a bird of the trogon family, specifically it is of the order of the Trogoniformes and the Trogonidae family .
The quetzal lives in the south of Mexico , mainly, in the Triunfo reserve in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, some regions of Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador, so it is distributed mainly in Central America . It lives in rainforests , grasslands and mountains with very dense vegetation, so they are in humid and semi-humid climates that we find in the tropics and subtropics.
This omnivorous bird measures between 36 and 40 centimeters to where its tail begins, and then it is very long, and weighs between 180 and 210 grams. The quetzal is considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world and the most beautiful in America, which is due to its characteristic plumage. Their feathers are especially long on the tail, which grows throughout the first 3 years of life and can reach 65 centimeters in length, with the tail of males being longer than of females. In fact, its name comes from the word quetzalli, in Nahuatl, and it means ” long tail of bright feathers “. Their feathers are usually very bright colors such as green, bluish and turquoise, purple, red (on the chest) and golden reflections.
The quetzal is a very important animal in these countries and especially for Guatemala, as it is the symbol of this country, it even appears on its flag, and it is the name of its currency.
Why the quetzal is in danger of extinction in Mexico and Guatemala
According to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , which is the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is the intentional record of the status of the species, the quetzal or Pharomachrus mocinno is in NT (Near threatened) status or close to being threatened . But these data, which you can consult in the previous link, are those that consider the world population of this species, which includes the individuals of all the countries in which this animal can be found, so that currently the world population Quetzal is considered close to being threatened .
However, according to the government of Mexico and other entities and associations in this country, this is already one of the animals in danger of extinction in Mexico and Guatemala. On the website of the Government of Mexico , you can consult this information that indicates that the quetzal is in danger of extinction in Mexico and Guatemala , a place where this bird is also symbolic.
More specifically, we can also consult the Official Mexican STANDARD NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 . In this standard we find the category of danger (P-Endangered, A-Threatened and Pr-Subject to Special Protection) and some tables with all the species, among which we can find the Mesoamerican quetzal or Pharomachrus mocinno with the category P , that is to say, in danger of extinction.
Causes that the quetzal is in danger of extinction
Among the main causes of why the quetzal is in danger of extinction in Guatemala and Mexico are the following:
- Habitat decline : As we have indicated before, they live in tropical rainforests, heavily vegetated mountains and grasslands with mainly humid climates, and these areas are declining more and more and at an ever faster rate. The reasons are diverse and we will mention below a few more as the main causes of the extinction of the quetzal.
- Continuous forest fires: in various areas of the tropical forests and mountains of dense vegetation where this bird lives, there have been more and more forest fires for some time. There are natural ones and there are provoked ones. These forest fires bring with them a variety of consequences, among which are the loss of quetzal individuals and the reduction of habitat due to deforestation.
- Indiscriminate felling of trees: Another reason why the habitat and population of the quetzal is reduced is deforestation caused by the indiscriminate felling of trees . Logging occurs so that people can take advantage of both the trees and the land that is cleared, thus we get paper, cardboard, wood for furniture, land to live and cultivate, etc., but it becomes a big problem when it gets out of control, it becomes indiscriminate and the ecological balance of the area is lost.
- Hunting and illegal trafficking or trade: today many people still hunt or capture them to sell their feathers, to sell them as stuffed trophies or to sell them as pets on the black market. This is a subject of great controversy, on the one hand if it is sold it is because there are those who buy, so there is a demand market, but on the other hand some people who practice this hunt and capture do so because in the area in which live they do not have the facility to have a better livelihood, to be able to pay the minimum expenses for housing, resources, food, etc. Undoubtedly, poaching can only be reduced or stopped by raising public awareness and by action by governments, the police and the courts.
What can we do to save the quetzal in Mexico and Guatemala
Now that we have seen what the situation of this bird is in these countries, and we can verify that it is high risk, it is also necessary that we inform ourselves in what ways we can help the quetzal in Mexico and Guatemala . For example, from AgroCorrn we propose:
- Volunteer or collaborate with organizations and associations aimed at the conservation of the quetzal. Look for environmental and environmental associations from these two countries or even international with programs aimed at these countries or this specific animal species.
- If you live in the area or are going to visit it while doing tourism, do not litter, do not harm the vegetation or the animals in the area, especially the quetzals .
- If you see someone breaking the laws for the protection of these areas or the protection of animals when you go through these areas, let them know that they are breaking them, since sometimes people are not well informed, and if they do not stop then call the authorities in the area.
- Always use the 3Rs of ecology to help the environment of these areas and the planet in general, reduce the waste that pollutes and you will help the quetzal and other living beings.
- It helps to make other people aware of this issue and also of the importance of helping both quetzals and other endangered species, animals and plants. It is especially important that you help the youngest to become aware of this.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why is the quetzal in danger of extinction in Mexico , we recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals .