Queen Conch Sanctuary Xel-Há
At Xel-Há different ecosystems exist, both fresh and salt water, which makes the study of the queen conch even more interesting. Here it is safe and protected, away from human exploitation.
The queen conch is an endangered species due to excessive commercial consumption by humans. In some regions of the Caribbean it has already vanished. Xel-Há hosts the program “Protection and Preservation of Queen Conch (Strombus gigas).”
Since 2001, along with the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute Merida Unit (CINVESTAV-IPN), bi-monthly monitoring has been performed to determine how the queen conch population is composed in Xel-Há’s inlet. They are studied every so often to determine growth rate. By 2010, 4,282 queen conches had been marked at different growth stages (juveniles, sub-adults and adults). Due to this continuous monitoring, it was found that the population of Strombus gigas had increased 79% between 2001 and 2010.
One of the best ways to protect this animal is through environmental education and awareness. Xel-Há is also a training center for teachers of the Mesoamerican Reef Program, raising awareness so that teachers can contribute to the community directly from their classrooms.