Indigenous Rock Murals all around us… in the Baja


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Stephanie Rousso
The indigenous culture of Baja California Sur is long gone, but the evidence that tribes once lived and thrived here in the Sierra Mountain range is right in front of our face.  My good friend, Anibal Lopez Espinoza has been using his own resources and his own pesos for the past 4 years documenting new and unregistered archeological sites.  As a former naturalist guide, Anibal (pronounced aan –EE- bahl), knows the Sierra mountains and surrounding foothills better than most.  A true Paceño, he is passionate about preserving the indigenous heritage through his photographic journal of the pictographs and murals that are spread around our beloved Cape Region of Baja California Sur.
He has been coordinating with the Director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and has received permits for exploration through the support of the State Institute of Culture (Insituto Sudcaliforniano de Cultura del Estado).  His funding comes through his own means by guiding eco-trips and hull cleaning of sailboats and yachts. He is a former business owner of the once famous “Killer Tube Surf and Skate Shop”, which gave him great business skills and a super friendly disposition.  Due to a shoulder injury, he gave up his love of surfing and returned to a life of hiking and exploring.  He is a professional outdoor photographer among his many talents.  Armed with his hiking boots, backpack, and camera, he set out exploring on foot to bring us the most amazing images portrayed in one book.
He took me to a secret spot hidden in an arroyo (dry river bed) on a private ranch.  I met the ranch owner, an old, friendly Mexican, who sold us wonderful mouthwatering cheese and chorizo when we returned, made fresh that day.  While many of the sites are off limits, Anibal´s goal is to raise awareness for the preservation of the ancient rock and cave murals.  Some people have already found ways to access them, and thus have destroyed and trashed some sites.  Through his coordination with INAH, he has begun to register the sites already discovered and soon open some to the public which in turn will provide jobs to local ranchers, like the one I met.
ProFaunaBaja, my local organization, seeks to promote conservation of these beautiful areas through environmental education, research, and ecotourism.  The rock murals tell a story about the flora and fauna of the region.  Since many of the paintings are sea turtles, deer, cactus, and other endemic living organisms, his work merges well with the mission of ProFaunaBaja.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Anibal is now part of ProFaunaBaja and we are designing a university internship for students studying ethnobiology, international studies, ecotourism and regional planning.  If you would like to help Anibal in his quest, contact us through ProFaunaBaja to purchase an advanced copy of his book, currently being translated into English.  Another immediate way to support his work is to hire him to clean the hull of your boat.  Soon, you will be able to get a sneak peak of his book including images through our website, ProFaunaBaja.org so check back often and keep in touch through Facebook!
Contact us directly: Stephanie@ProFaunaBaja.org or ProFaunaBaja@gmail.com.  ProFaunaBaja can also design a custom itinerary for all your eco-adventures!   We are always looking for partners and sponsors to expand our environmental education programs!
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