The mysterious White City, erected by an unknown people and sheltered by the jungles of the Amazon, became the last refuge for many species that scientists have long considered extinct.
White City is a legendary settlement, lost in the lush tropical forests of Honduras. Researchers say that this is the only evidence of a mysterious civilization that existed in Central America long before the appearance of Europeans. The city is shrouded in myths and often becomes the subject of heated debate in the scientific community. However, we know one thing for sure: a unique ecosystem formed in the ruins of a lost culture, concealing many amazing discoveries.
Nowadays, archaeologists believe that the white city can only be part of an extensive collection of man-made structures and other fragments of cultural heritage scattered across the Honduran jungle and still waiting for their time. Inside the urban area called Ciudad del Jaguar (City of Jaguar), researchers have discovered an exceptional natural “shelter” populated by hundreds of animal and plant species.
Red-eyed tree frog Agalychnis callidryas
“What we found is an area of extreme biological diversity, even for Central America. Even those species that are now considered almost extinct live here, ”says biologist Trond Larsen of the environmental non-profit organization Conservation International, based in Virginia. According to him, all this indicates that this area is a corner of unspoiled wilderness, which must be preserved to ensure the integrity of the ecological corridors in Central America.
In 2017, Larsen embarked on an expedition to the White City as part of armed soldiers – he was afraid that he might be harboring a drug cartel in the jungle. However, instead of dangerous criminals, he found more than 180 species of plants, almost 250 species of insects, 198 species of birds, plus dozens of different species of fish, reptiles and mammals.
Among them is the pale-faced bat Phylloderma stenops, which has not been seen in Honduras for more than 75 years; In addition, the scientist found a variety of the tiger beetle Odontochila nicaraguense, which was considered extinct at all. However, the same can be said about many other inhabitants of this mysterious place. “Many of these species are rare or virtually non-existent in the region due to degeneration, hunting, and a number of other factors,” the researchers write. In their opinion, this is one of the few areas in Central America where ecological and evolutionary processes have remained primordial and untouched by man.
According to the team, this incredible spread of fauna and flora can be mainly explained by two reasons: the intact state of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in the City of Jaguar, as well as intact forest areas in the jungle region, which the local name is Mosquitia. The researchers claim that this space, which includes four separate protected reserves and national parks, is the largest forest in Latin America north of the Amazon.
Chaintails Bottrop Schlegel (Bothriechis schlegelii)
The main threat to these unique corners of wildlife is illegal logging, which even the authorities cannot cope with. In many cases, this is due to drug trafficking, where the law is confronted with a large wallet and the influence of criminal authorities. However, the Honduran government has committed itself to continue to protect and scientifically explore this area, and not just for the sake of its unique ecosystem. We still do not know what kind of people built the White City and what secrets can be hidden deep in the jungle.