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Cañada de la Virgen: Mexico’s First Certified Wildlife Friendly® Reserve Recognized for Exceptional Biodiversity Conservation

Cañada de la Virgen: Mexico’s First Certified Wildlife Friendly® Reserve Recognized for Exceptional Biodiversity Conservation

The Cañada de la Virgen Reserve, an ecological treasure located in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, has been officially designated as Certified Wildlife Friendly®. This prestigious certification recognizes the Reserve’s exceptional commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainable land management practices.

Situated within the biologically diverse region of the Mexican Highlands, the Cañada de la Virgen Reserve spans approximately 5,000 hectares of pristine habitat, including semi-arid shrublands, grasslands, and riparian ecosystems. The Reserve is home to a remarkable array of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to the area and some classified as threatened or endangered.

The certification, awarded by Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), is a testament to Cañada de la Virgen’s adherence to rigorous standards aimed at protecting wildlife and promoting ecological balance. The company’s management practices are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based strategies, ensuring the conservation of its unique biodiversity.

Photo credit: Golden Eagle. Cañada de la Virgen Reserve

“Achieving the Certified Wildlife Friendly® status is a significant milestone for the Cañada de la Virgen Reserve,” said Sophia Trapp, Executive Director of the Cañada de la Virgen Reserve. “Our land management practices prioritize organic farming, regenerative grazing, and respect for nature, ensuring that local wildlife and communities thrive as a result of our deep respect for the interconnectedness of all life. This certification not only validates our conservation initiatives but also encourages us to continue our work with renewed vigor.”

Key conservation efforts at the Reserve include habitat restoration projects, the establishment of wildlife corridors, and ongoing research initiatives aimed at monitoring and protecting key species, such as the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis), and the Montezuma quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae), Puma and more. Additionally, the Reserve collaborates with local communities to promote sustainable land-use practices and environmental education programs.

“Certified Wildlife Friendly® certification status of Cañada de la Virgen Reserve underscores the global significance of the company as a model for conservation excellence embedded in a robust business model for nature positive enterprise” said Christine Lippai, Executive Director at Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, adding that the certification “aligns with broader global conservation goals and highlights the importance of protecting biodiversity hotspots in the face of increasing environmental pressures”.

Photo credit: Cañada de la Virgen Reserve, Mexico

Scientific Collaboration and Conservation

Over the years, Cañada de la Virgen has hosted local, national, and international scientists who have carried out studies on geology, soil, carbon sequestration, ecosystem restoration, birds, bats, etc, thus enhancing the understanding of the Reserve’s biodiversity. One of the most notable conservation efforts is the ongoing project to establish a protected corridor for the Mexican Puma. Wildlife cameras are stationed throughout the Reserve and are revealing the slow but sure return of the species after decades of absence.

“The vision of the Cañada de la Virgen is to become the leading organic brand for Mexico that sets an example of a profitable, regenerative business model. Cañada de la Virgen seeks to go beyond the traditional understanding that nature and humanity should merely coexist to show that they can and must thrive and grow together for a better and more abundant future,” said Sophia Trapp.

Photo credit: Cañada de la Virgen Reserve, Mexico

About Cañada de la Virgen

Cañada de la Virgen is a certified organic grass-fed cattle ranch in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. A regenerative family business that cares about environmental conservation and the health and well-being of almost 800 cattle and 200 horses. The company offers premium certified grass-fed organic beef for exclusive consumption in Mexico as well as the world’s first Carbon-negative Agave Spirits from the agaves planted to jumpstart reforestation of the semi desert ecosystems on the Reserve.

About Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN)

WFEN is a global community dedicated to the protection of wildlife in wild places and on agricultural lands, promoting sustainable livelihoods through the certification of products and services that adhere to the highest standards of wildlife stewardship and habitat conservation. Our Wildlife Friendly® certification programs ensure that consumers can make informed choices that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.