Pantanal wetland in Bolivia threatened by port project says WWF
WWF news release
November 20, 2005
Santa Cruz, Bolivia Plans for the construction of a commercial port and railway access line crossing Bolivia's Otuquis National Park — a protected area and Ramsar site located in the heart of the world's largest wetland area, the Pantanal — must be radically restructured so that it doesn't cause irreparable environmental damage and economic losses, warns WWF.
"If Puerto Busch goes ahead, one of the most species-rich wetlands in the world will be threatened," said the report's scientific coordinator, Stephan Halloy.
"We could see another costly ruin scarring the landscape, just like in the 1970s when a previous port and elevated road in the same region were swamped by floods leaving it unuseable. The port and railway embankment will obstruct natural waterflows and disrupt the movement of endangered species, drying out some wetlands while increasing flooding in other areas."
Caiman in the Pantanal. Photo by R. Butler
A Brazilian environmentalist has died after self-immolation in a protest against the construction of alcohol factories in the Pantanal marsh region. The 65-year-old Francisco Anselmo de Barros wrapped himself in an alcohol-soaked blanket and set it on fire during a protest Saturday in Campo Grande, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) northwest of Rio de Janeiro.
"This site minimizes the impact on the environment while also offering a better investment opportunity," said Roger Landivar, WWF Bolivia's country representative.
As a result of the dissemination of the study since October, WWF has been formally asked to close its field office in the ecoregion, located in the municipality of Puerto Suárez, as well as cease activities there. This municipality covers approximately 24 per cent of the Bolivian Pantanal ecoregion. However, WWF Bolivia's Pantanal Program will continue working within the municipalities of San Matías and Puerto Quijarro.
WWF in the Pantanal wetland
This is a modified news release from WWF.