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Latam Eco Review: Ports imperil Colombian crocodiles

Below are summaries of the most popular stories by our Spanish language service, Mongabay Latam, from the week of June 11 – 17. Among the top articles: Port projects in northern Colombia threaten the mangrove habitats of American crocodiles. In other news, the Waorani people of Ecuador use camera traps to record an astonishing diversity of species in their territory.

New maritime cargo ports threaten Cispatá Bay in Colombia

Five hydrocarbon ports operate in the Gulf of Morrosquillo in northern Colombia. Two more are planned – one for cargo; the other for bulk and coal – in Cispatá Bay, one of the country’s best conserved mangrove ecosystems. Around the bay, more than 8600 hectares of twisted mangroves offer refuge to fish, mollusks, shrimp and a crocodile at risk of extinction: Crocodylus acutus, the American crocodile, known locally as the ‘needle crocodile.’

American crocodiles in Cispatá Bay. Image courtesy of Asocaiman.

Ecuador: Waoranis of Pastaza record the incredible animals that live in their forests

Waorani people who live near oil block 22 in the Ecuadoran Amazon installed camera traps to record the incredible biodiversity of their forests. They hope to show the government why it is worth conserving their territory from the advance of petrochemical activity.

Camera traps installed in 180,000 hectares show very special wildlife. Jaguars, oncillas, and bush dogs are some of the species they have been able to register in their natural habitat. Image by Daniela Aguilar for Mongabay.

Guatemala: Q’eqchi indigenous leader loses her nephew and now fears for her life

“Being a defender of the land is synonymous with being condemned to death.” Q’eqchi activist Maria Magdalena Cuc Choc, who leads protests against mining activity in El Estor province, has been stalked by strangers for months and fears for her life. At the end of January, her nephew was tortured and assassinated.

Q’eqchi activist Maria Choc during an interview with Mongabay Latam in her house in La Unión neighborhood of El Estor city. Image by Jessica Guifarro for Mongabay.

New wildlife trafficking routes and technique in Peru

Peruvian authorities have identified at least 15 new wildlife trafficking routes within the country. In 2017 alone, more than 10 thousand animals, alive and dead, have been confiscated in Peru. In one case 84 birds were packed in salt – a new technique.

In April, 84 birds, practically desiccated, were intercepted by Peruvian authorities. Image courtesy of Serfor.

Deforestation doubles in Colombian Amazon

Deforestation of the Colombian Amazon nearly doubled, from 77,000 in 2016 to 144,000 in 2017. Land grabbing in zones traditionally associated with the armed conflict was one of the principal causes.

Pastures and extensive cattle ranching are the principal causes of the deforestation. Image courtesy of the Environment Ministry of Colombia.

New record: the startling distance a whale shark migrated

For two and a half years, researchers followed the movements of Anne, a whale shark who swam from the coast of Central America to the Mariana Trench in the north Pacific.

Whale sharks are filter feeders, eating plankton, fish eggs, krill, crab larvae as well as small squid and fish that enter their large mouths. They cannot digest plastic garbage. Image by Kevan Mantell/Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Read these stories in Spanish here.

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