Selva El Ocote Biosphere Reserve

Natural Areas



El Ocote is one of the most important centers in Mexico and the world, as its privileged location allows it to host a diverse biodiversity of incalculable value to humanity. It is considered a conservation priority due to its biodiversity, its representation of endangered, rare and endemic species and because it contains a complex of unique caves and geological formations. The most important rivers in the area are La Venta and Encajonado, there are also subterranean rivers that rise to the surface in some places, which is why they are called "aguajitos" (water eyes). In the area´s high mountains, there are trees that are more than 30 meters tall, such as mahogany, sapodilla, palm and Mexican elm. There are more than two thousand species of plants and fungi and more than five thousand species of invertebrates in the reserve. In terms of birds, more than 350 species have been recorded in El Ocote and it has been verified that at least 38 species of North American migratory birds use the reserve on their migratory routes and as a winter shelter. The migratory birds stay on the site for six to nine months annually.

Some of the resident bird species are the king vulture, curassow, pava corolita, white hawk, ornate hawk-eagle, osprey and four species of parrots. There are about 31 species of amphibians in El Ocote, corresponding to 34% of the species in Chiapas.

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Of the 184 mammal species found in the State of Chiapas, 66% (121) of the species are mainly found in the El Ocote area. Among the endangered species found here are the howler monkey, spider monkey and tapir. Also found in the area are jaguar, ocelot, oncilla, otter, white-lipped peccary and the river crocodile. El Ocote was one of the last places where the latter species was recorded in Mexico.

There are also other endangered species in the region such as the king vulture, black hawk-eagle, crested owl, corolita, tinamoú jamuey and white-tipped dove. La Selva El Ocote is considered as one of the most important forest reserves in Mesoamerica, so a visit here is the perfect complement to a tour through the great natural beauty of the state of Chiapas.


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Flora and Fauna