A heron with a broken wing, a pelican injured as a result of entanglement with fishing tackle, a coatimundi hit by a car and even an ocelot in captivity, all these and many more wild birds and animals are nursed back to health by Cancun couple Hilary and Alberto (‘Beto’) Charles.
The Royal Resorts Foundation helps them in their work by donating old towels and sheets every month to be used as hammocks for the patients to rest in, slings and bandages.
In a fast growing city like Cancun wildlife faces many threats, ranging from loss of habitat and pollution to rapidly moving traffic. Birds fly into plate glass windows and seabirds are injured by boats, fishing nets, lines and hooks and plastic garbage. Parrots and other jungle birds, monkeys, baby coatis, margays and ocelots are hunted in rural areas and sold illegally as pets in the city. Many are rescued by the authorities in a state of neglect and are taken to Hilary and Alberto for care.
Cancun residents for almost 40 years, Hilary and Alberto began their rescue work 35 years ago and Hillary, who once watched and helped out at vet surgeries at a Mexico City university, is now an expert in the care of wild animals. She recently participated in a training course given by the University of Texas on wild bird management for local vets.
When Hilary and Alberto first started rescuing birds, news of their dedication quickly spread and Cancun residents began to leave injured birds and animals that they found in their neighborhoods at the family residence. Nowadays, the Fire department, government environmental agencies and local vets all call on them for help.
The birds that they rescue include owls, ospreys, peregrine falcons, parrots, orioles, doves, motmots and huge frigate birds. They have raised mockingbird, pygmy owl and Yucatan jay chicks, painstakingly fed hummingbirds with a honey and water solution and taught young woodpeckers how to search for beetles and larvae in tree bark using a training log. Pelicans, herons and ducks wander freely in their back yard and flight cages house eagles and hawks. Every morning the park in front of their house echoes with the rattling calls of chachalacas that they once cared for and that now roost in trees that the Charles family have planted over the past 30 years.
They regularly receive injured raccoons, opossums, squirrels and foxes. They often have two or three coatimundis running around. Coatimundis are gregarious creatures so they wait until they have troupes of five to six before releasing them together. They have even tended porcupines and their young, peccaries, monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, kinkajou, deer and the tamandua or Mexican anteater, which often falls victim to traffic due to its poor vision and slow movements.
When completely recovered, wild birds and animals are released into their natural habitat again wherever possible. This means taking them to areas of pristine jungle or wetland, private reserves such as El Eden or the huge Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve where they are set free.
In June, the team of Royal Resorts Foundation triathletes took part in Cruce de la Bahía, a swimming race across the bay to Isla Mujeres. They followed it up with a road race organized by the Cancun Polytechnic, both to raise money for our community and conservation causes.
Cancun-based NGO Amigos de Sian Ka’an, A.C. celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this year, three decades of tireless work and campaigning for the protection of the Mexican Caribbean’s rich ecosystems.
Amigos de Sian Ka’an was founded in 1986, six months after the creation of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and is a conservation pioneer in Quintana Roo. From research and conservation projects in Sian Ka’an when it first began, over 30 years its work has gone far beyond the borders of the reserve. It has planned and lobbied for the creation of several other reserves in the state, including Uaymil, Contoy, Arrecifes de Sian Ka’an, Arrecifes de Xcalak, Chinchankanaab, Balan Ka’ax and Cozumel, among others. In fact, as a result of the direct actions of Amigos de Sian Ka’an, 1.1 million hectares of land has been protected to date and there are more areas proposed for future reserve status.
Amigos de Sian Ka’an projects also include:
Mapping the area’s cenotes and underground rivers, working on a water management plan for the Yucatán Peninsula’s hydrological resources
Monitoring the health of coral reefs
Monitoring crocodile and bird populations and other endangered species
Coastal management plans
Sustainable development in Mayan communities
Maya K’ab community fair trade network
Maya Ka’an community tourism network to bring travelers to rural villages in Sian Ka’an and the Zona Maya
MARTI Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative
Environmental services payments to landowners to keep jungle and water sources intact to protect them for posterity, conserve wildlife and offset climate change
Working with area biologists, landowners and government agencies to create wildlife corridors linking reserves to protect endangered species such as the jaguar and puma
The Amigos conservation team comprises biologists, development workers and volunteers and its projects range from wildlife research and an environmental services payment program for protecting the jungle to water studies and sustainable development. Whether it’s monitoring the health of the Mesoamerican Reef and marine life to safeguarding the jungle and the creatures that dwell in it, mapping the network of underground river systems in the Riviera Maya and community products and tourism in Mayan villages, Amigos de Sian Ka’an is involved in protecting the unique, fragile and incredibly rich mosaic of ecosystems with which the state of Quintana Roo is blessed.
A longtime supporter of Amigos de Sian Ka’an, the Royal Resorts Foundation has partnered with it to protect areas of tropical forest in areas of northern Quintana Roo under threat from development. By saving the forest, wildlife and the aquifers that supply water to Cancun, Isla Mujeres and the Riviera Maya are also protected. The goal is to expand the amount of jungle protected under this program and work towards the creation of a biological corridor linking El Eden Reserve and Yum Balam Reserve in the north of Quintana Roo with Sian Ka’an that will provide a refuge for endangered species such as the jaguar, puma and ocelot and protect the underground rivers of the Riviera Maya.
Every month, Royal Resorts Foundation volunteers help out at a lunch for senior citizens at a parish church in Downtown Cancun. In April, it rolled out the red carpet for them, welcoming 135 of them to Hacienda Sisal for a special meal.
This group of senior citizens comes from Lourdes, Santa Cecilia, Maria Auxiliadora and San Juan Bosco parishes. They are poor and the majority of them have been here since the early years of Cancun. They do not have a family support network to look after them and many are ailing, with limited mobility, sight or hearing problems. This monthly get-together is their only opportunity to meet up with friends.
Royal Resorts normally provides lunch for the event and volunteers from the resorts serve the guests, spending time with them and making sure that they all enjoy themselves. In April, instead of gathering at the Lourdes church, the elderly parishioners were bussed out to Hacienda Sisal where Royal Resorts Foundation and Restaurant Division volunteers welcomed them and escorted them to tables decorated with flowers brought by the resort gardeners.
During lunch, musicians of the Perla del Caribe marimba band performed traditional melodies from the state of Chiapas and other parts of Mexico.
The afternoon entertainment included dance, fashion and singing contests and the guests also received gifts and food baskets.
On August 24, Colegio Mano Amiga at the Ciudad de la Alegria community center on the outskirts of Cancun opened its doors after the summer recess. A total of 950 students began their studies again, eager to learn and to excel, setting their own goals and improving every day.
Children’s education is one of the Royal Resorts Foundation’s key causesand it recently made a donation of $31, 435 US to provide scholarships for an entire classroom of students from poor and disadvantaged households in Cancun. This will enable them to continue their education in a safe and happy environment, something that may have proved impossible for many of them otherwise, given the precariousness of their backgrounds.
With your generous support the Royal Resorts Foundation is helping to transform lives and give these young people a future filled with hope and opportunities. Education can transform society and break the circle of poverty and they are also learning that they must lend a helping hand to those less fortunate than themselves.
Students at the Universidad del Caribe, a university on the outskirts of Cancún, recently carried out part of their professional training by participating in a social program called Mejora tu Entorno (Improve your Environment) in the Red Cross Community Center in Downtown Cancún.
The goal of the staff at the Community Center is to expand this program and with the help of students who volunteer their time they are able to give free summer school classes to children and workshops for poor families.
However, as with any such project, the Community Center needs money and resources in order to continue giving courses and workshops. And they turned to the Royal Resorts Foundation and other associations for help, both for donations of material and also for volunteers.
The Housekeeping department donated sheets, bedspreads and mats that generated $17,530.00 pesos for the program.
Members of the Mejora Tu Entorno team said, “the donations we received will help many people on a very low income and they also give us a boost and encourage us to continue working for such a good cause.”
You can support the Royal Resorts Foundation Education cause. Make a donation today online or join our fundraising campaign and activities during your stay at Royal Resorts.