The venadario of El Fuerte, Sinaloa, to the rescue of the symbol of the Yoreme culture


Javier Ruiz started the venadario project “deer sanctuary” in the Magical Town of El Fuerte, Sinaloa, seven years ago with four specimens, and today he has around 100

El Fuerte, Sinaloa.- What began as a project to fulfill a school thesis of his daughter, with the passage of time Javier Sabino Ruiz Alcaraz turned it into a life project that gives rise to the rescue and preservation of one of the species most enigmatic and noble of the state of Sinaloa: the white-tailed deer.

Parque ecológico Los Sabinos

A few minutes from the Magic Town of the municipality of El Fuerte, Sinaloa, just down the road to La Galera recreational park, is the Los Sabinos Ecological Park, a magical Mexican corner embedded in the emblematic Fuerte River that offers the experience of living with the deer, which the Huichol culture wisely calls the messengers of the gods.

The tour 

The experience is unique from the moment of crossing the bridge that separates the mainland with the island in the middle of the river and it becomes even greater as the feet advance and the minutes pass, since visitors have the opportunity to feed with their own hands. the little ones in the same space and the adults through the fence. There, the mischievous Susanita, Toribio, and Vicenta, as well as the rest of the baby deer, allow themselves to be caressed by the human while they eat and scrutinize him with their tender and innocent eyes. 

Javier Sabino explains that the adventure of the park began under the supervision, permission and certification of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, with four deer, approximately seven years ago, once he retired as a primary school teacher and after obtaining the right of the concession of the island that has approximately eight virgin hectares where there are adult deer that are free, far from the danger of the hunter and where the visitor who is lucky can observe them from afar.

Grandiose deer in El Fuerte, Sinaloa to the rescue of species 1
Certification. The project is supported by Semarnat, which considers it a Management Unit for the Conservation of Wildlife (UMA). This year it has already granted permission to sell copies at a price of 15 thousand pesos. Photo: Jorge Cota / Debate

Today, there are more than 100 specimens that make up this venadario in El Fuerte, and that let locals and strangers see the greatness of its majesty. 

Grandiose venadario in El Fuerte, Sinaloa to the rescue of species 2
Javier Ruiz, founder of the venadario. Photo: Jorge Cota / Debate

More attractive

The Los Sabinos Ecological Park also has a space dedicated to wild boars and an aviary that includes macaws, peacocks, güíjolos, and wild chickens, among other species that can also be admired within its space, as there is a small bridge two meters from height so that the visitor can observe the birds in the same trees. 

Of course, we have signs in which we ask that they do not try to feed the wild boars because by their nature they are dangerous and the visitor can get hurt “, explains the founder and caretaker of each specimen. 

Grandiose deer in El Fuerte, Sinaloa to the rescue of species 3
Contact. The visitor can feed the deer, even the little ones with a bottle. Photo: Jorge Cota / Debate

And as a complement, the park has dining areas, hammocks, grills and even a catamaran that Javier Sabino himself built and manned for anyone who wants to extend the adventure and go half an hour into the waters of the Fuerte River to enjoy its landscapes. 

Grandiose deer in El Fuerte, Sinaloa to the rescue of species 4
Noble and with the added charm of their age, newborns are waiting for the human who enters their space

Black days

But not everything has been honey on flakes. This animal sanctuary was about to close its doors a few weeks ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic, due to the lack of government support to maintain it and the zero entry of tourists, who are asked for an entrance fee of 20 pesos per adult and 10 pesos per child with no time limit to stay in the venadario.

Grandiose deer in El Fuerte, Sinaloa to the rescue of species 5
Diversity. The UMA has an aviary where Javier Sabino houses, among other birds, some beautiful and funny macaws that fill the environment with their sounds. Photo: Jorge Cota / Debate

However, everything indicates that this is history because Javier Sabino withstood the economic onslaught of the pandemic and even borrowed a ton of corn to feed deer and other animals, and is still standing today. 

Great venal in El Fuerte, Sinaloa to the rescue of species 6
Regional specimens. Wild boars can also be seen in the venadario, both adults and just a few months old. Photo: Jorge Cota / Debate

The sanctuary is ready to continue receiving visitors from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and continue his dream, to which he lives devoted together with his wife, Silvia Serna Soto, and their children day and night since its foundation, which is the rescue and preservation of the white-tailed deer, a symbol of the region and an emblem of the Yoreme culture

Grandiose deer in El Fuerte, Sinaloa to the rescue of species 7
Tourism. On the Fuerte river you can see small boats with visitors eager to know the region. Photo: Jorge Cota / Debate
Great venal in El Fuerte, Sinaloa to the rescue of species 8
Strong support. Álvaro Apodaca Valenzuela, the only worker that Javier Ruiz has, has become his great ally to preserve the UMA. Here he grinds the food of the animals. Photo: Jorge Cota / Debate


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