Brazil triples endangered species list
November 5, 2008
Environment Minister Carlos Minc unveiling the new list Tuesday, adding 489 species to the previous tally of 218, which was last updated in 1989. 79 species were removed from the list due to their recovery.
Listing affords a species with legal protection, which affects land use and other policies.
Most of the listed species occur in the Atlantic forest, an ecosystem that has been more than 90 percent cleared for agriculture and urban development, and the cerrado, a grassland that has largely been converted for cattle ranches and industrial soy farms. Few of the endangered species occur in the Amazon — despite its high rate of forest loss — due to its vast extent and the list's focus on conspicuous animal life like birds, mammals, and fish, rather than insects and other invertebrates.
Minc said that 3,000 law enforcement agents would be hired to battle environmental crime in the country. 1,000 of the agents would be assigned to Brazil's environmental protection agency, IBAMA, and the Chico Mendes Institute.