Thursday, December 7, 2023

Lake goes dry in Chiapas’ Metzabok lagoon system but cause unknown

A lake has run dry in the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas but the cause of the phenomenon is unknown.

The now-empty lakebed is located in the eastern municipality of Ocosingo and part of the UNESCO-protected Metzabok lagoon system, which is considered sacred by the local Mayan people.     

Local resident Armando Valenzuela said the lake dried up completely on Saturday night but water levels had been dropping during the previous two weeks.

“. . . The community was monitoring it to take care of the [wildlife] species,” he said.

Around 150 residents helped to transfer fish to other lakes in the area, the newspaper Reforma reported, although some ended up on dinner tables.    

“There’s nothing left in what was a great expanse of water and a tourist site,” said one local in a video posted to social media.

Valenzuela said there are 10 smaller lakes in the area that dry up every year but it is the first time that a larger one has lost all its water.

Staff at the Natural Protected Areas Commission told Reforma that an investigation is underway to determine the cause.

Lower than usual rainfall appears to be the most likely culprit.

The National Meteorological Service said in May that land in the catchment area of the Usumacinta river, one of several waterways that feed the Metzabok lagoon system, was in a state of extreme drought.  

Source: Reforma (sp), El Heraldo de México (sp)

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