this photographer captures the splendor of Mexico’s mountains

Rising up in the remote mountains of Sierra Gorda, Mexico, Roberto Pedraza Ruiz designed a critical case of biophilia.



a close up of a bird


© Roberto Pedraza Ruiz


A term coined by biologist Edward O. Wilson, biophilia — indicating “adore of everyday living” — describes the human need to link with nature.



a small animal on a branch


© Roberto Pedraza Ruiz


Pedraza Ruiz — now a conservationist and photographer — moved from the bustling central Mexican city of Queretaro to Sierra Gorda, in 1984, when he was 9 yrs aged.



a small animal on a branch: Pedraza Ruiz rescued this gorgeous kinkajou, which had strayed into an orchard, and released it in the forest.


© Roberto Pedraza Ruiz
Pedraza Ruiz rescued this attractive kinkajou, which had strayed into an orchard, and launched it in the forest.

The mountain range handles a lot more than 380,000 hectares — extra than twice the size of Higher London. Its landscapes span rugged mountains, arid deserts and misty cloud forests.

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Pedraza Ruiz recalls shelling out his childhood there collecting mushrooms, looking for salamanders and jaguars and boosting horses and cows. Sierra Gorda felt like the location he was meant to be.

“I’m a very endemic creature,” he tells CNN. “I seriously think that I belong to these mountains and which is it.”

Helping people, encouraging character

Pedraza Ruiz’s biophilia runs in the spouse and children.

His mother is the award-successful conservationist Martha “Pati” Ruiz Corzo — viewed as the region’s environmental sheriff.

In 1987, Corzo co-founded a grassroots group, Sierra Gorda Ecological Team, with her partner, to assist secure the forests from destruction. A ten years afterwards, the team properly attained Biosphere Reserve position for the area.

Appointed by the then-Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, Corzo served as the Reserve’s director for 14 a long time.

The team works to conserve nature when also strengthening the lives of economically-deprived nearby communities. “Ninety-7 per cent of the land is the private land of 637 communities,” she explains. “You have to give them an possibility simply because that’s all they have.”



a canyon with a mountain in the background: Sierra Gorda looking its most resplendent in the early morning light.


© Roberto Pedraza Ruiz
Sierra Gorda seeking its most resplendent in the early morning light.

Corzo believed the crucial was to empower regional persons to look right after Sierra Gorda’s normal sources and land, turning them absent from unsustainable industries like logging by producing economic alternatives which includes reforestation, education, ecotourism, carbon footprint compensation and waste administration.

Her efforts ended up a outstanding achievement.

Now, Sierra Gorda is thriving. In accordance to Pedraza Ruiz, the location is house to 345 species of birds, 111 different mammals, 134 distinct reptiles and amphibians, and all over 2,400 plant species.

The upcoming technology

Pedraza Ruiz, now 45, performs alongside his loved ones to shield the historical forests he grew up in.

“(My mom and dad are) the largest illustrations for me. It truly is tough to continue to keep up with their tempo, but I do my ideal,” he says.

Pedraza Ruiz oversees Sierra Gorda Ecological Group’s land conservation plan, executing all the things from making fences to continue to keep cattle at bay, to patrolling the forests for unlawful functions. He states his do the job would make a change. Outside the reserve, “you can see illegal logging, cattle ranching, and forests fires,” he says.

He is also an award-successful photographer, who showcases the wild magnificence of his household to the world.

“Photography has come to be these an successful tool for conservation” he suggests. In 2016, images he took in Sierra Gorda extra than a 10 years back prompted the discovery of two new magnolia species. A single of them — the Magnolia pedrazae — was named following his family.

“No person (realizes that) in central Mexico we have all this range,” he says. Photography is “a way to share why Sierra Gorda is so vital.”

Scroll by way of the gallery at the major to see Pedraza Ruiz’s gorgeous photos of Sierra Gorda.

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About Antoinette G. Tucker

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