Mexico’s Islas Marietas National Park is recovering from the effects of pollution and a wave of unregulated tourism, officials told EFE.
“Having a presence in the area has helped us make much progress in terms of the tourism activities,” park director Jorge Castrejon said.
Daily patrols, the presence of six rangers and a set of regulations that have drawn the criticism of tourists helped park officials impose “order” in the area, which was swamped by thousands of visitors over a two-year period, Castrejon said.
National Protected Natural Areas Commission (CONANP) scientists and technicians have been working for a year to restore coral reefs and other areas of the park damaged by visitors.
Visitor numbers violated the regulations set by officials, with 3,000 people per day arriving in the park during Holy Week 2016, while the legal limit was 625, the CONANP said.
Islas Marietas National Park, which is made up of 19 islands, is located about 8 kilometers (4.9 miles) off the coast of the western state of Nayarit.
The national park is home to birds, coral reefs, fish, sea turtles, crustaceans and sharks, a species that has been targeted by poachers.