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Latam Eco Review: Five newly described snakes named by auction in Ecuador

Among the top stories published by our Spanish-language service, Mongabay-Latam, this past week were features about five newly described snake species being named by auction in Ecuador, and news that Bolivia’s Madidi Park could possibly be the most biodiverse park on Earth.

The banner image above shows one of the newly described snakes, a Bob Ridgely snake (Dipsas bobridgely). Image courtesy of Matthijs Holladers/Tropical Herping.

Ecuador: five new snake species named via auction

In the science world, researchers who describe new species have the honor of bestowing their common and scientific names. In Ecuador, a team that discovered five new ‘snail sucking’ snakes decided to name them by auction. The funds raised through the naming auction will expand a reserve where some of the new species live. Tropical Herping says four of the five species are endangered: Bev Ridgely (Sibon bevridgelyi), Bob Ridgely (Dipsas bobridgelyi), Oswaldo Báez (Dipsas oswaldobaezi) and Klebba (Dipsas klebbai).

The habitats of all these snake species, most categorized as Vulnerable or Endangered, are threatened by deforestation. Image courtesy of Alejandro Arteaga/Tropical Herping.

Peru: 15 new illegal trafficking routes identified

At least 15 new illegal wildlife trafficking routes were recently identified in Peru. Holland, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France and Germany, along with China, Japan and Singapore, are some of the destination markets, but the majority of species never leave Peru.

Birds are the most trafficked animals in Peru. Photo: Serfor.

Bolivia: Researchers register 4,000 species in Madidi National Park

A researcher who recently registered 4,002 plants and animals (out of more than 8,000 total) in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park believes there’s a lot more to come. Wildlife Conservation Society’s Rob Wallace believes the park could be the most biodiverse on Earth. Expeditions so far show that Madidi hosts 3% of the world’s large plants, 3.75% of its vertebrates, and 9% of its birds.

Researchers estimate that the number of species within the park could reach 11,500. Image courtesy of WCS.

Wildlife trafficking is decimating the Mosquito Coast of Honduras

Wildlife trafficking is devastating biodiversity on Honduras’ Mosquito Coast, threatening the country’s national bird, the scarlet macaw, with extinction. The traffickers can earn $15,000 to $20,000 a month.

A scarlet macaw sells for $1,000 on the illegal market but a green one can go for as much as $3,000. Image by Contracorriente.

Assassinations and intimidation of hydroelectric project opponents continues in Honduras

The April murder of lawyer Carlos Hernández and police pressure against a mayor and four other people are signs that those who oppose hydroelectric projects in Honduras are risking their lives. Residents believe that these actions seek to squash opposition to an energy project on a river that serves 16 communities.

Communities and organizations fighting hydroelectric projects in different regions of Honduras came together to share experiences with those defending the Jilamito river. Image courtesy of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).

Threats to Via Parque Isla de Salamanca in Colombia

Known as the ‘international bird airport,” Via Parque Isla de Salamanca on Colombia’s Caribbean coast faces all the problems seen in the country’s other protected areas: fires, over-exploitation, illegal invasions, highway expansion and port development.

Thousands of birds stop in this coastal region of Colombia. Image courtesy of Via Parque Isla Salamanca.

Read these stories in full and in Spanish at Mongabay-Latam.