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Latam Eco Review: Colombia’s last nomadic tribe faces extinction

Below are summaries of the most popular stories by our Spanish language service, Mongabay Latam, from the week of April 30 – May 6. Among the top articles: more than 20 families of the last nomadic indigenous peoples of Colombia face a serious food crisis. In other news, a new app allows fisherfolk and others in ports and markets to monitor fish in the Amazon river basin.

The image above of an elephant weevil (Orthorhinus cylindrirostris) from the vast Mongabay archive was the most popular on Latam’s social networks.

Colombia’s last nomadic tribe faces extinction

En la comunidad Nukak Maku, muchas veces deben repartir una gallina entre más de 70 personas. Foto: Alberto Castaño.
The Nukak Makú often need to share a chicken among more than 70 people. Image by Alberto Castaño for Mongabay.

The Nukak Makú, the last nomadic indigenous, contacted peoples of Colombia, are on the brink of disappearance. Deforestation, invasions into their ancestral territories, displacement, along with a cultural and environmental degradation from bureaucracy, are making it impossible for the Nukak to manage their lands – or feed themselves.

Underwater spiders: the strange lives of intertidal spiders

Una araña macho Bob Marley (Desis bobmarleyi), descubierta en Port Douglas en Queensland, Australia. Foto de Robert Raven
A male Bob Marley spider (Desis bobmarley) discovered in Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia. Image courtesy of Robert Raven

A spider named for reggae legend Bob Marley is a new member of 15 species of intertidal spiders. At this point, scientists have registered intertidal spiders along the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, the south of Africa, the Pacific islands and India. The spider can stay under water for up to 24 hours due to a notable adaptation: small water repellent hairs, known as hydrophobic hairs, that trap air around it.

App enables citizen scientists to monitor fish and water quality in Amazon basin

Un total de 21 especies de peces migratorios de la cuenca del Amazonas serán monitoreados con el app Ictio. Foto: Yvette Sierra Praeli.
A total of 21 species of migratory fish in the Amazon basin will be monitored by the Ictio app. Image by Yvette Sierra Praeli.

An ambitious citizen science project that extends across Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador proposes to create a volunteer network to monitor fish and evaluate water quality through the simple download of a cellphone application. Low internet access in rainforest communities presents the main challenge.

Nine thousand small turtles return home to the jungle in Peru

Las crías de cinco especies de tortugas fueron repatriadas a Perú, luego de que las autoridades de Holanda observaran las malas condiciones en su traslado. Debían llegar a Asia, pero terminaron en el Centro de Rescate Amazónico de Iquitos. Foto: Yvette Sierra Praeli
Baby turtles repatriated to Peru, after Dutch authorities observed poor transport conditions. They were due to arrive in Asia but ended up at the Amazonian Rescue Center. Image by Yvette Sierra Praeli

The Amazonian Rescue Center in Iquitos, Peru is caring for 9,000 turtles until they are ready to be released ino their native habitat in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Their return is part of a repatriation process approved by the administrative authority of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna in Holland, where they were confiscated.

Peru: Indigenous Andean communities save forests from narcotraffickers

Todas las familias se dedican a los cultivos. Tienen yuca, plátano, uncucha, mani, caña, café, cacao. La gran parte de su producción es para autoconsumo. Foto: Jack Lo.
All families cultivate yuca, banana, tannia tubers, peanuts, sugar cane, coffee, and cacao. Most of the production is for their consumption. Image by Jack Lo for Mongabay.

Seven Machiguenga indigenous communities seek to protect more than 260,000 hectares of forest in southern Peru from narcotrafficking. This area has the highest concentration (69%) of land dedicated to illegal coca cultivation. They seek recognition of part of their territory as a Regional Conservation Area.

Honduras: African palm hits the heart of Kawas Park

El 11% del Parque Kawas protegida ha sido carcomida por 9140 hectáreas de palma africana. En las últimas dos décadas se han perdido 2254 hectáreas de bosques, más que 4500 campos de fútbol. Foto: Jessica Guifarro
African palm has eaten away 11% or 9140 hectares of the Kawas Park. In the last 20 years, more than 2254 hectares of forest, more than 4500 soccer fields, have been lost. Image by Jessica Guifarro.

The majority of the 89 communities in the Jeanette Kawas National Park in northern Honduras are growing African palm, resulting in 11% deforestation of this protected area. Residues from fertilizers and chemicals used in the cultivation of African palm have also caused an accumulation of organic residues in Los Micos Lake.

Read about these stories in Spanish here.

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