Punta Izopo National Park

Located on the north coast of Honduras, at the eastern end of the Bahía de Tela, eight km away from the port city of Tela, department of Atlántida. It is located between the Jeannette Kawas National Park, approximately five kilometers to the west, and the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, approximately eight kilometers to the east. The protected area is delimited between the coordinates: and has an area of approximately 40 square kilometers.

The Park has a 90% flat topography (12%) and the other 10% with slopes of 30 to 40%. In addition, it has two important elevations: Cerro Izopo with a height of 108 meters above sea level, and Cerro Sal with a height of 118 meters above sea level. The coastline has an irregular surface, ranging from rocky beaches to dunes.

There are also sandbanks called bars that in many cases divide fresh water from marine waters. Among these, the Barra Boca Vieja, Barra de Colorado, Barra Carvajales, Barra Río Hicaque and Barra Río Plátano stand out. The predominant climate is the humid tropical climate that is conditioned by several factors.

The convergence of the trade winds and tropical waves means that during the months of May to October, it is affected by humid and hot winds that cause heavy rainfall. The system of cold fronts and anticyclones from the northern hemisphere cause showers and a drop in temperature in the period from October to March.

Average annual precipitation is 2,800 mm per year. The periods of little precipitation are registered in the months of March, April and May. The annual average and the average temperature in the area are 24 degrees Celsius.

The Punta Izopo National Park presents coastal terrestrial and marine ecosystems in a state that has not been much altered by the nearby human population, although there are homes and registered land within the protected area. The park is mainly conformed by tropical humid forest, flooded forest and mangrove forest; it also includes rivers, streams, lagoons, channels, marshes, rocky beaches, sandy beaches, high rocky cliffs, and sea beds with coral reefs.

Based on the Holdridge classification, the area corresponds to a tropical humid forest. However, almost the entire area of the Park is located in a swamp and mangrove environment. To date, 499 plant species have been reported in the Bahía de Tela area, corresponding to 112 families and 342 genera.

Within the primary forest of the area, composed mainly of flooded forest in most of the core area, the most common species are: Zapotón (Pachira aquatica), Sangre (Virola koshnyi), Maria (calophyllum brasiliense), Varillo (Symphonia globulifera) , Yagua (Roystonea dunlopiana) and Carao (Cassia grandis). The mangrove forest comprises three species: red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), which are found on the banks of lagoons, rivers, canals and estuaries.

The Punta Izopo National Park stands out for its biodiversity. Many of the species that are observed have economic and tourist importance, as well as ecological, some of these are considered threatened or in danger of extinction.

Among the most relevant species are the manatee, the jaguar, the white-faced monkey, the howler monkey, the otters, the ketchup, the anteater; birds such as: the pajuil, the pink spoonbill, the osprey, hawks, reptiles such as: sea turtles (hawksbill, loggerhead, have been reported and freshwater: crocodiles, garrobos, alligators and iguanas.

70 species of freshwater fish have been described in the Bahía de Tela area, distributed in 30 families and 49 genera. Twenty-five species of fish are used for hunting for artisanal and commercial fishing; Four species are of tourist interest: tarpon (Tarpon atlanticus), snook (Centropomus sp.), chunte (Aruis assimilis) and cow (Catfish marinus). The populations of these species depend on certain critical areas for their reproduction, coverage and feeding within the Park, the most important being the Hicaque and Plátano lagoons, where the mangrove system is predominant.

En la zona se han encontrado 36 especies correspondientes a 17 familias y 31 géneros incluyendo anuros, tortugas, cocodrilos, lagartijas y culebras. En el área de la Bahía de Tela, nueve especies de reptiles se consideran amenazadas a desaparecer en Honduras: el cocodrilo americano; cuatro especies de tortugas marinas: la caguama (Caretta caretta), la verde (Chelonia mydas), la carey (Eretmochelys imbricata) y la baula (Dermochelys coriacea), la iguana verde (Iguana), el garrobo gris (Ctenosaura similis), la boa (Boa constrictor) y el pitón hondureño (Loxocemus bicolor).

Regarding birds, studies of avifauna carried out in the Bahía de Tela area register a total of 345 species, including those reported by ornithologists who have carried out bird inventories in the lagoons of the wetlands of the Jeannette Kawas National Park, Lancetilla Botanical Garden and the Punta Izopo National Park.

The 345 species found are distributed in 18 orders, 56 families and 232 genera. In the Bahía de Tela area, a total of 47 species of wild mammals were reported, distributed in 12 orders, 24 families and 44 genders.