Original article on OddityCentral.com – a blog on oddities and wacky news http://www.odditycentral.com/
For the past 40 years, Ramon Archundia, has dedicated his life to the preservation of Mexico’s endangered iguanas. His magical ‘iguanario’, a reptile sanctuary in the center of Manzanillo city, is now home to 642 iguanas, as well as other wild animal species.
The story of Iguanario Archundia began over four decades ago. Sickened by the plight of iguanas at the hands of man, Ramon Medina Archundia rescued a pair of these majestic reptiles and set up a small enclosure for them in a marshy space in downtown Manzanillo, where two huamúchil trees offered the perfect place for sunbathing. But that was only the beginning, because Ramon and his father Juan, kept bringing in new rescued iguanas, and after word of their small ‘iguanario’ spread around the city and the whole Mexican state of Colima, other people started bringing in iguanas, knowing that they would be well taken care of. Today, Iguanario Archundia is home to over 640 iguanas, as well as other ‘donated’ animals like raccoons, badgers or turtles.
Taking care of over 600 iguanas is no small task, considering that they consume about 400 pounds of food a day, but Ramon Archundia has managed to do it for many years. Every day, he visits the local markets in Manzanillo to collect hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables from like-minded animal lovers who are more than happy to contribute to his cause. Some of the locals make daily contributions as well, and a number of volunteers are always available if he needs any kind of help.
Ramon cleans and feeds the iguanas daily, and shows them the love and care they deserve. And watching them gather around him at feeding time and returning his affection, it’s pretty obvious that they recognize him as their protector.