05 | DIC | 2019
Mexican activist girl fights to save jaguars
Cococu is a nonprofit organization to create awareness about the environment - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Mexican activist girl fights to save jaguars

27/11/2019
20:02
Mexico City
Cynthia Villalón
-A +A
Sofía Molina created Cococu, a nonprofit organization that wants to create awareness about the jaguar’s extinction

Leer en español

Since the first years of her life, Sofía Molina has visited communities in the Huasteca Potosina; in addition, she spends time with many children who live near nature.

Hence was born her wish to be part of the preservation of ecosystems and, thanks to a school project, she decided to collaborate in the preservation of the species in danger of extinction: the jaguar.

With this idea in mind, she created Cococu, a nonprofit organization that wants to create awareness about the urgent situation of this animal through conferences and workshops for children and adults.

The name of the initiative derives from the actions of knowing, creating awareness, and taking care of the environment. Its emblem is the figure of a small jaguar.

Cococu’s work goes back to 2016 when Sofía, originally from San Luis Potosí, was seven years old: “I traveled a lot with my parents. They have another association that is very involved with communities. I stayed with other children and noticed all decisions were taken among the adults. As I grew up and saw it was just as usual and, when I had the chance, I thought about everything needed for children to have more opportunities,” she explains.

Did you know Mexico's glaciers are threatened by climate change?

Currently, Sofía is 10 years old and she has traveled throughout Mexico presenting her proposal in congresses, communities, and schools of all levels of education, but she always comes back to the Huasteca Potosina and has no problem in traveling through tens of kilometers and over five hours by car to arrive at the jungle areas of her state.

jaguar_4.jpg

Why take care of jaguars?
A study made by the Ecology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico determined that there are approximately 64,000 jaguars left in the world; from them, 90% is in the Amazon region in Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia. In the rest of the world, including our country, there is only 10% of the total population of this species. The feline population in Mexico is of less than 4,000 and there are two elements that threaten their survival: hunting and the destruction of their habitat.

Over 40% of the home of this feline, the biggest in Mexico, has been lost, and this has confined them to areas farther from human beings: the highest parts of mountainous areas of the Sierra Madre Occidental and Oriental, and in some coasts of the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the south and southeastern Mexico.

Did you know turtles with deadly tumors were found in Mexico?

In the case of San Luis Potosí, the jaguar is only present in a small region, which includes eight municipalities of the Huasteca Potosina, an area famous for its impressive natural landscapes, its abundant vegetation, and that is increasingly attracting tourism.

jaguar_7.jpg

In addition, the jaguar has been denominated as an “umbrella” species because on it depends the balance of other species of plants, insects, and small mammals, so it is a key element of its natural chain.

With the Cococu project, the intention is for people in San Luis Potosí, especially minors, to become aware of the species near them, even though they cannot see them, and thus notice that small actions, such as respecting the forest, have big effects, like the survival of a species.

Have you heard how people are saving manatees in Mexico?

The young activist wants other children to participate and to be part of the program as ambassadors of Cococu, on this wat, they will teach people near them, like friends, relatives, or classmates.

Part of the program includes members from communities that have committed to preserving their environment in the benefit of species. Some of these spaces, which have been denominated Cococu’s dens, are touristic areas that receive visitors from all over the country. The jaguar's conservation program has over 11,000 hectares.

jaguar_5.jpg

A responsible visit to the Huasteca
Sofía’s parents head the organization Raisac, which protects the environment that could be affected by human activity. They know that in the ecosystem, everything is a chain and every element is relevant, an idea inherited by Sofía.

Their initiative wants to promote tourism in areas near the Huasteca Potosina, but with a focus different from the traditional ones: they want people to be able to visit the region and to be aware of their knowing and taking care of the place.

Have you heard of the recent sighting of vaquitas?

Sofía’s father gives an example: When a group of tourists looks for a jaguar, they see its footprints in the mud and walk among the trees; they know its routines and the places where it has been. That makes them closer to the species. The importance of the program comes from the idea that the Huasteca is an area that attracts thousands of visitors.

Sustainable tourism is not only ecologic, but it also pretends to teach with more responsible practices inside protected natural areas and to design development strategies validated in the community. Hence, they preserve, take better advantage of their resources, and promote economic activities of the population of at least 10 rural communities.

jaguar_3.jpg

Thanks to her parents’ activities, Sofía had contact with researchers and experts in sustainability since she was very little. She notices that although they have a lot of knowledge about biodiversity, it remains only among experts and is not shared with people far away from the academic sphere. Hence her interest to reach all kinds of public.

Cococu’s achievements
Sofías has met several times with the resident coordinator of the UN in Mexico Antonio Molpeceres, and attends events to talks about the importance of protecting the environment and conserving jaguars.

For her achievements, Sofías has been named by Mexico’s Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of the UN as an outstanding person for sharing her experience in the beginning in Mexico of its Youth Chapter. This, as part of an initiative of the UN that looks to achieve 17 goals toward sustainability.

Have you heard of the mountain lion cubs born in Hidalgo?

This is not the first recognition won by Sofía. In 2018, she won in the Green Latin America Awards given by Guayaquil’s government in Ecuador. Although she could not visit that country with her family.

jaguar_6.jpg

But the first recognition she received was in 2017 after she won third place in Coparmex, with the Piggy Bank project in which she sold small figures of animals where children saved money. “It’s as if you adopted an animal” explains the 10-years-old girl.

For now, all the money with which Cococu operates is obtained through donations. Sofía wants the respect she feels for nature to reach other children: “I want to reach a global level, for everyone to be aware of the damage to the planet and for them to think about the planet future generations will have, a whether a very polluted one or not.”

Did you manatees are endangered for breach of rules in Mexico?

mp
 

Mantente al día con el boletín de El Universal