Text and pictures by Anna Bruce
Oaxaca’s Yaguar Xoo sanctuary is based in the area of Yagul, a UNESCO heritage site, rich with archaeological and environmental history. Victor Rosas and his team are developing the premise of the space, bringing in the local community and visiting academics to learn about their projects.
Key initiatives at the sanctuary are Jaguars en Selva with the Jaguars of the Light and Batagave; respectively focused on rehabilitating jaguars and raising awareness about bat populations through a bat-conscious mezcal certification.
Mezcal is a Mexican spirit distilled from agave, and bats are one of the major pollinators of this iconic plant. Batagave will work with mezcal producers, encouraging them to embrace the importance of bat conservation.
A significant element of this certification will be leaving a percentage of agave plants to flower, rather than harvesting it for use in mezcal production. Producers will be reimbursed with agave seed, grown on site at Yaguar Xoo. The site will also offer educational tours and mezcal tastings for visitors in a dedicated space in front of the sanctuary.
I first met the team when discussing a collaboration with the sanctuary and my project Rambling Spirits.