Parque de Flora y Fauna Silvestre Tropical
Tropical Flora and Wildlife Park
Catemaco, Veracruz
containment and research facility for Mexican monkeys.

Its 544 original acres lie above the north shore of Laguna Catemaco, Veracruz, northeast of Nanciyaga, on the slopes of
Mount Pipiapan up to 2200 feet high. Solid original rain forest occupies most of its land.

A local landowner had donated the acreage, that had previously been invaded by squatters, to Pro Patronato Veracruzana,
a support group of the University of Veracruz. The size of the terrain is still in dispute because of demands from neighboring
land owners.

After considerable legal difficulties, the University of Veracruz´s Institute of Neuroethology (study of nervous systems and
behavior in animals), began operating the park with two heavily fenced containment areas, a large building holding walk
in-cages plus various support facilities. Originally only spider monkeys were stocked.

The main activities of the park include research on regional flora and fauna, conservation of Mexican primates and teaching
programs for primate studies and wildlife conservation.

The Park has limited funding and is supposed to be self supporting by outside investigators doing research. After 26 years
of operation and visits by researchers from a dozen countries very little research has been published on the internet that is
accessible by Google, but I am told that much more research is available on private data bases. As of 2007 the park
supported 100 Alouatta palliata (mantled howler), 23 Ateles geoffroyi (Geoffroy's spider monkey).

The park is not open to the public.
PAFFASIT also manages several islands in Laguna Catemaco, including Isla Agaltepec, which houses a large colony of
Howler monkeys.

The Park also supposedly serves as a care facility for Macaque monkeys, native to Asia, abandoned on several smaller
islands of Laguna Catemaco which now have become a major tourist attraction.
Supposedly PAFFASIT oversees their
welfare. The park is staffed with  2 caretakers, while management resides at the Estación de Biología Tropical Los Tuxtlas.

Meanwhile free ranging troops of howler monkeys but not spider monkeys, have been reintroduced into the Nanciyaga / La
Jungla area and seem to be flourishing.
Apparently, the park is operated primarily as a working resort for foreign researchers by the University of Veracruz.

The government of Catemaco, in previous years, has discussed a zoo to be possibly installed in the Park. The idea is
interesting but probably difficult because of the political nature of the PRO PATRONATO Veracruzana membership.

Nevertheless, the recent successful opening of the
Cerro del Venado nature park in San Andrés Tuxtla, reminds me
of an opportunity that Catemaco is missing.

Cerro Pipiapan is the tallest hill on the north end of Laguna Catemaco. Views from its top are absolutely breathtaking
encompassing the Gulf of Mexico, and both laguna Catemaco and Sontecomapan. The terrain is mostly in its original
condition and is one of the few publicly owned properties that is accessible near Catemaco.

I doubt that Catemaco would have the resources to finance and maintain a zoo, but it would be an excellent idea to
propose to state and federal legislators.
Take the paved Catemaco to Sontecomapan highway, then turn off towards Coyáme. About 3 miles further, a sign to the
left alerts to the entrance of the Park. From there, a dirt trail of about half a mile leads to the installation. Total about 7 miles
northeast of Catemaco.
Mantled Howler Monkey somewhere else (all other photos are of Spider Monkeys in the park