Yushan National Park was the second national park founded in Taiwan. It is a national park located in a mountain area, covering a vast expanse of over 105,000 hectares. Within the park, there are spectacular peaks, and 30 of them are recognized as part of the Hundred Mountains of Taiwan. The highest is Mt. Jade, or “Yushan.” It reaches a height of 3,952 meters above sea level, the highest in Northeast Asia. The area of Yushan ranges from the elevation of 300 meters where Lekuleku River is located, to 3,952 meters. It displays an entire eco-system, with many breeds and different kinds of forest vegetation. From the lowly elevated ground, vegetation that can be seen in the order of ascending elevation are: broad leaf forest, conifer broad mixed forest and alpine shrub. What’s more, a great variety of animal fauna can also be found here. Among them, Formosan Black Bear is the most precious within the park. Others like Mikado pheasant and Swinhoe’s pheasant are both world-famous. In recent years, former Director Chang of the Yushan National Park Headquarters has adopted the management guideline of promoting globalization. He put much emphasis not only on English interpretation service, but also on international cooperation and communication.
Honduras is a republic situated in Central America. It has a solid friendship with Taiwan, and is an important trading partner of Taiwan. The entire area of the country is 112,088 square kilometers, and 65% of its land is covered by mountains. It is bordered to the east by Nicaragua, to the west by Guatemala, to the north by the Caribbean Sea, and to the south by El Salvador and the Pacific Ocean. Summer and autumn are its wet seasons, while winter and spring are dry seasons. The climate of Honduras falls into the tropical mountain category, and the temperature of day and night can differ sharply. Most export goods consist of bananas, coffee, timber and silver. Many Central American countries suffer from earthquakes because the Pacific Ring of Fire passes through El Salvador through the Pacific Ocean and on to Nicaragua. Luckily,Honduras is the only country in Central America without earthquakes or an active volcano. Therefore, the heritage of the indigenous culture, the Maya, mostly remains intact.
Among the population of 5,900,000, there are around 2,000 Taiwanese overseas nationals. The official language here is Spanish. Honduras originally belonged to the indigenous culture of the Maya, and was then colonized by Spain. In the year of 1821, it declared independence. After independence, the government changed the name of their currency to “Lempira (L.),” which was a remembrance of a ruler of the indigenous people, and who was renowned in Honduran folklore for leading local native resistance against the Spanish conquistador forces.
Nearly 500 year have passed since the Spanish conquest. Nowadays, more than 90% of Hondurans are the descendants of indigenous and Spanish people. The capital city of Honduras is located in Tegucigalpa, which means “the silver mountain” in the indigenous language. It’s around 1,000 meters high, and is surrounded by mountains. Since there are no earthquakes in Honduras, the ancient and complex Spanish style architectures are presented with full integrity.
La Tigra National Park was the first national park ever founded in Honduras. (Note 1) It is a display window of nature where the richness of various creatures and the diversity of natural resources are presented. In addition, it is also rich in culture and history. It is located 11 kilometers northeast of Tegucigalpa, with an area of 23,826 hectares. La Tigra is a national park located in a mountainous area just likeYushan National Park. Mt. La Tigra is 2,290 meters (or 7,513 feet) in height. The core zone of the park (Note 2) is 7,571 hectares, and a tropical cloud forest which consists of pine and oak can be found here. The core zone is always shrouded in fog and clouds, and the cool climate and plentiful rainfall bring the capital area fresh air and high-quality source of water. As for the 16,255 hectare large buffer zone which is located at about 1,400 meters, the plants growing there are mainly pine such as white pine. What’s more, the buffer zone is also the interzone where tropical vegetation and subtropical vegetation intertwine, and where pine and fern co-exist.
La Tigra has a diversity of vegetation, not to mention wild animals. There is a great variety of orchids, and in exuberant fern trees more than 200 species of bird habitats reside there. Quetzal (or “Pharomachrus mocinno”) especially, is one of the most beautiful birds in the world. To the ancient Mayan people, the male quetzal’s one-meter-long spectacular tail feather was a must in the religious ritual to decorate Quetzalcoatl (Note 3), the god they respected the most. The neighboring country, Guatemala, even uses it as its national bird. However, because of its beauty, quetzal is now endangered. There are also other endangered wild animals in La Tigra such as ocelot (or “Felis portalis”) and mountain lion (or “Felis concolor”). In short, La Tigra plays an important role in wildlife preservation.
The park provides two visitor centers which are located respectively on the west and the east side. To access the one on the west side, take the route from El Picacho City Park, which is northeast of Tegucigalpa, passing El Hatillo to the Jutiapa Visitor Center, and then start hiking. This route is an eco-corridor, lying northeast of the metropolitan area (actually only 10 kilometers away from the capital city), serving as the best eco-traveling resource for not only visitors but also residents. To climb Mt. La Tigra, this is the major route, because it is easier to climb, and it is nearer to the capital city. What’s more, visitors can see birds while passing through the relaxing pine forest.
To access the one on the east side, take the route which passes San Juancito to El Rosario, and then start to hike. This visitor center is 14 kilometers away from the capital city. During the wet season, a jeep is needed to help you get there. The remaining housing of Rosario Mining Company now becomes a visitor center. It provides general travel information, public facilities, and also accommodation (advance booking is required). The two routes which lie respectively on the west and east meet at Mt. La Tigra, forming a circle.
The goal and mission of Yushan and La Tigra National Parks are similar. Furthermore, the two share some similarities in their natural resources, operation and management. In order to learn from each other on the basis of the solid friendship, the two countries had built up, and with the assistance of the ambassador of Honduras to Taiwan, Mrs. Duron, a Memorandum of Understanding between Yushan National Park and La Tigra National Park was signed by Chang Po-ya of the Ministry of the Interior of Taiwan and Sr. Lic. Roberto Flores Bermudez of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Honduras on December 12, 2000. The content of the Memorandum of Understanding is as follows: Because (1) the goal and mission of the two national parks are similar; (2) the two share some similarities in natural resources preservation and park management; (3) the two will benefit from experiencing, sharing and exchange in the two fields mentioned above; and (4) the two are willing to become sister parks, and so the two parties consent to sign this Memorandum of Understanding, to (1) prepare a cooperation agreement which is under the regulations of the two parks and the countries they are in; (2) develop a concrete plan about future cooperation and about how to support personnel training; and (3) exchange information and publications which are beneficial to both sides. The ceremony is simple but at the same time solemn. Those who attended the ceremony included the director of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Honduras, the ambassador of Honduras to Taiwan, Mrs. Duron, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Taiwan, Political Deputy Minister of the Ministry of the Interior, Li Yi-yan, Administrative Deputy Minister, Jian Tai-lang, the director general of the Construction and Planning Agency, Lin Yi-hou, and the director of the Yushan National Park Headquarters, Chang He-ping. After the ceremony, everybody enjoyed the champagne, savoring the atmosphere of joy, and celebrated the friendship between the two countries. We hope that both parties can cooperate and communicate more on the road of preserving eco-systems and biodiversity in the future