The photographs in this series were made as part of a National Geographic Society funded study by CICY(Center for Scientific Investigation) in the Yucatan. These  images are in a traveling exhibit now in the Yucatan. The exhibit is to introduce these beautiful and endangered creatures to the people of the Yucatan.
The Cola Hendida (The Mexican Sheartail) is the Yucatan’s hummingbird. They mainly live in a narrow band along the  Coast of the Gulf of Mexico between Celestun and El Cuyo .They are  an endangered species and  need the help of the People and Government of the Yucatan to insure their survival. A few simple and inexpensive measures are all that are needed to make sure they survive for your children and grandchildren and beyond.. They are part of the patrimony of all generations to come. This species is one that the Yucatan alone can preserve.
Many scientists believe that the world is in period of extinction like no other since the last great extinction.65 million years ago. Extinction of species is happening at a rate much greater than the normal rate. Many believe at a rate as much as 1000 times faster. The last event  is believed to have occurred after a meteor struck the Yucatan. Unlike all the other periods of mass extinction this one is manmade. If the Doricha Eliza is lost it will be man’s fault.
The Doricha Eliza are nearly invisible. They are tiny, quiet, fly extremely fast and live in places not many people visit. The photographs in this exhibition were made over the course of a year and follow the life cycle of these remarkable creatures. It is a dangerous world for these single mothers and chicks.
Their world is being made more difficult and dangerous by the increasing pressures on their habitat and the more extreme weather caused by Climate change.
Development along the coast for summer homes and resorts  reduces  the resources  they need to   live. It is fashionable to replace the native flowering and cotton plants with Palms.
 The number of chicks that survive till they fledge is only 30 %. A very low number.
To insure that the Doricha eliza survive a few simple and inexpensive actions need to be taken
The most important nesting site needs to be immediately protected
The laws and regulations that protect native plants in the areas  near the beach need to be enforced strictly. This is true in the entire coastal area.
The salt marsh habitat needs to be cleaned and kept clean. These are often being used as garbage dumps
Public education needs to make people aware of this beautiful species.
The species needs to be studied further.
Protecting the Doricha Eliza also helps protects the hundreds of related plant and birds and animals that depend on the coastal habitat.
                                              Jim Legault              Waldemar Santamaria Rivero
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