The 139-hectare (343-acre) Miguel Alvarez del Toro Zoo features
animals endemic to Chiapas, including boar, mountain deer, badger,
pheasant, tapir, black jaguar, and pavon (a large turkey used
as the symbol of the zoo, it is endemic to Chiapas and in danger
of extinction). Natural barriers are used instead of cages,
and the animals' surroundings mimic their native habitats. Of
the zoo's 213 species, 90 percent are in danger of extinction.
The zoo is considered a regional model and has influenced other
zoos, including a zoo in Belize.
FAUSTINO MIRANDA BOTANICAL GARDEN
The Faustino Miranda Botanical Garden was created under the
direction of Faustino Miranda, author of the book The Vegetation
of Chiapas, a classic text. The garden covers 4.4 hectares
(10.9 acres) on the banks of the Sabinal River and is located
in Madero Park.
MIGUEL ALVAREZ DEL TORO
Miguel Alvarez del Toro was a world-famous zoologist, author
of Los animales silvestres de Chiapas (1952), Los aves de Chiapas
(1971), and Los mamiferos de Chiapas (1977). Alvarez del Toro
was a strong proponent of conserving the mangroves, breeding
grounds for 96 percent of the fish captured along Mexico's coasts,
and the El Triunfo cloud forest, which later became a biosphere
A native of Colima,
Alvarez del Toro moved to Mexico City with his family in the
late 1930s and obtained a job as a taxidermist at the National
Museum of Flora and Fauna. The position was a fiasco though,
as his immediate supervisors demoted him to janitor -- except
when visitors came to the museum and Alvarez del Toro was asked
In 1942 Alvarez del Toro learned of plans to establish a natural
history museum in Chiapas, and Eliseo Palacios hired him as
the project's taxidermist. Upon Palacios' death, he became the
director of the Department of Tropical Nurseries and the Museum
of Natural History, now known as the Institute of Natural History
and Ecology. Respected throughout Mexico and the world, Alvarez
del Toro continued his work for environmental conservation in
Mexico until his death in the summer of 1996.
de Chiapas is a division soccer team.