Royal Resorts is a longtime donor to Amigos de Sian Ka’an, the Cancun-based conservation group that has done so much to protect the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the wildlife of the Yucatan Peninsula. Conservation is also one of the Royal Resorts Foundation’s key causes and it is participating in a regional program implemented by Amigos and the Mexican National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) to safeguard four million hectares of tropical forest, and the creatures that inhabit it, in the state of Quintana Roo.
The Royal Resorts Foundation is raising money in support of Amigos de Sian Ka’an’s work with rural communities and ejidatarios or small farmers and landholders to protect the forest instead of clearing it for development. They receive environmental services payments for leaving the land untouched. In addition to conserving the forest and the creatures that inhabit it, such actions increase carbon capture and help to offset the devastating effects of climate change.
The first recipients of environmental services payments were farmers in northern Quintana Roo in Ejido Juarez and San Mateo Ake near El Eden, a private reserve en route to Yum Balam Biosphere Reserve and the island of Holbox. Their land is located in a belt of forest and marshland along a geological fault line associated with the cenotes and underground river systems of the Riviera Maya. As water is plentiful year round, this area attracts a variety of wildlife and the long-term goal is to protect it in order to create a natural corridor linking it to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve; this will help rare species such as the jaguar, puma and ocelot.
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Royal Resorts turtle program
Since 1985, Royal Resorts has been protecting the sea turtles that emerge from the sea during the summer to lay their eggs on the beaches of Cancun. It was among the first resort groups to sign up when municipal authorities subsequently launched a conservation campaign and now participates in the annual statewide turtle program coordinated by SEMARNAT, the Mexican Department of the Environment.
Record keeping began in 1998 and, since then, Royal Resorts has protected 6,264 nests and released 522,394 turtles. Tens of thousands more will be released this year.
Purchasing regional products
Whenever possible, Royal Resorts purchases locally to support small businesses and producers, boost the regional economy, reduce transport costs and conserve fuel. An example of this is the furniture in the villas at the resorts, all made by carpenters in the neighboring state of Yucatan. Organic coffee, chocolate, honey from the Yucatan, locally made handicrafts, herbal cosmetics and sauces are available at Royal Resorts stores and gift shops.