Fundación Albatros Día3. (11/julio/2019)

Expedición del Corredor Biológico en el Caribe (CBC) al lago Enriquillo

Día 3.

Estamos en el 3er día de expedición del CBC explorando las orillas semidesérticas y salobres del lago Enriquillo. Agrupaciones de cactus de diversos tamaños y arbustos espinosos se suceden a lo largo de decenas kilómetros mientras avanzamos por el extenso matorral cactáceo. Inmensos cactus presentan largos troncos cubiertos de largas espinas que captan la escasa agua de lluvia.

El área terrestre que rodea este lago de 270 km2 se ve cubierta de fósiles de corales que formaron una extensa barrera arrecifal que existió -hace 10.000.000 de años atrás-, cuando la zona era un gran canal oceánico que dividía dos islas -la Paleoisla Norte y la Paleoisla Sur-, que fueron uniéndose por movimientos tectónicos hasta formar la actual isla La Española.

Al borde de la carretera, nos llama la atención un corte del suelo que nos permite apreciar el inmenso sistema prehistórico de arrecifes; e imaginamos la fabulosa y abundante vida marina que pudo haber existido en el ecosistema submarino de aquellos tiempos.

En los alrededores del sitio, exploramos un mundo de coral fosilizado con reptiles emblemáticos como la iguana de Ricordi, la iguana rinoceronte y varias especies de lagartijas, como la lagartija de cola rizada de La Española, que parece un diminuto dinosaurio viviente.

Todo el conjunto que nos ofrece la historia natural de la provincia de Independencia –paisajes desérticos, fósiles marinos, reptiles legendarios, así como el origen singular del lago Enriquillo-, tiene un potencial extraordinario para experimentar la naturaleza y desarrollar con responsabilidad un ecoturismo especial, sobre todo para los aficionados a la paleontología y a la observación de la biodiversidad dominicana, característica del Corredor Biológico del Caribe.

Un desvío en la carretera nos conduce hacia un matorral con una gran variedad de cactus que están floreciendo, creciendo entre formaciones de arrecifes extintos con millones de años de antigüedad. Pasamos el resto de la tarde documentando la vegetación recia que ha evolucionado para crecer expuesta a un clima extremo, caliente y salino.

A lo lejos, el espejo de agua del lago Enriquillo reluce. Vamos camino a nuestra siguiente aventura en los manglares costas de Montecristi, donde esperamos hallar a los manatíes antillanos.

(Por Alejandro Balaguer/Fundación Albatros Media)

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