John Davis and TrekWest kick off 5,000 Mile Journey from Mexico to Canada to Raise Awareness for the Protection of Wildlife Corridors
ASC is proud to be involved with John Davis, TrekWest, and the Wildlands Network to bring awareness to the importance of protecting wildlife corridors. John will travel 5,000 miles from Mexico to Canada on foot, bike, horse, and many other forms of transportation to inspire others to protect these important wildlife thoroughfares. Along John's journey he will be collecting data for several ASC projects including Roadkill Observations, Wildlife Observations, observing ptarmigan, and the Pika Project.
John Davis’s TrekWest began with a resounding TrekWest lauch ceremony in Hermosillo, Sonora and a day-long send-off fiesta hosted by the tiny village of Sahuaripa at the southern edge of the vast Northern Jaguar Reserve. Following these festivities, he spent the first six days of his historic conservation journey alternating between hiking and riding horseback through some of the toughest terrain he may face on his 5,000-mile international trek to promote wildlife corridor protection.
“I’m honored to have been received almost like a dignitary,” said Davis of the outpouring of public support he’s received. “Even though I have to rely on an interpreter to deliver my message of Say Yes to Wildlife Corridors, the wonderful people of Sonora have had no trouble grasping the importance of healthy and connected wildlife habitat. And once they’re engaged they realize that there are connectivity projects they can support right here in Sonora.”
Davis’ TrekWest partners in Sonora, including Mexico’s best-known conservation organization, Naturalia, and Northern Jaguar Project, which manages the 70-square-mile jaguar reserve, played a huge role in generating local excitement and interest in the adventure. “Naturalia’s regional director, Juan Carlos Bravo, was treated like a conservation rock star,” says Davis, who was joined by scores of bicycle riders as he left Hermosillo heading for Sahuaripa, where a community fiesta organized by Northern Jaguar Project flooded the streets with young students holding drawings of that region’s fabled icon of the wild.
The send-offs were quickly followed by Davis’ first miles on the trail of TrekWest, a week of hiking and riding horseback through some of the most difficult terrain he has ever encountered. Riding horseback with a group of local residents in a traditional “cabalgata” procession, he immediately experienced what he says was “one of the scariest 10 minutes I’ve known,” passing through dense, head-high thorn scrub along the steep side of a canyon on a fortunately surefooted packhorse. “Any misstep could have been disastrous,” said the adventurer, who admitted he hadn’t ridden in more than 15 years.
But Davis’ challenges, which were punctuated by sightings of coveted jaguar and ocelot tracks, were not over, as the trekker had to wade the cold, swift, chest-deep water at the confluence of the Aros and Bavispe rivers— carrying his backpack above his head — before exiting the jaguar reserve. Once out of the reserve and into more hikeable terrain, Davis realized for the first time the value of the beautiful handcrafted Zuni jaguar fetish he carried in his pocket for good luck.
Davis next joins partners from Tutuaca Mountain School and Cuenca los Ojos for the trek east across the rugged Sierra Madre Occidental into Chihuahua, and north to the U.S.-Mexico border at Cajon Bonito to view the corridor fragmentation posed by miles of border security infrastructure.
For more information about TrekWest visit trekwest.org where Wildlands Network’s petition promoting protection of wildlife habitat corridors can be signed, and where Davis’ regular blogs, posts and tweets can be seen along with TrekWest trail maps, photos, and more.
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