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Latam Eco Review: Killing jaguars for arthritis creams and wine

The top stories last week from our Spanish-language service, Mongabay Latam, followed the fate of Suriname’s hunted jaguars, Bogota’s urban forest preserve, and Chile’s Humboldt Archipelago.

Suriname’s jaguars killed for arthritis creams and wine

Suriname’s jaguar population is being decimated for the Asian market in arthritis cream, soap, aphrodisiacs and even wine, according to an investigation by World Animal Protection. The inquiry uncovered a chain of hunting and secret trade with high evidence of animal cruelty. Local hunters sell the jaguars for around $260 to Chinese traffickers. Jaguars are increasingly being substituted for tigers, which have become rare, to meet Asian demand for wildlife parts.

A jaguar shot in Suriname and transported in a canoe. Image courtesy of World Animal Protection.

Mine and port project threatens Humboldt Archipelago

A mine and port project in Chile’s Humboldt Archipelago could damage the marine life of nearby protected areas, including the Humboldt penguin. While approval for the Dominga project is on hold, authorities have already set a worrying precedent by approving a similar, though much bigger, mining project nearby. More than 560 species could be affected if the project goes through.

Marine shelf in La Higuera. Image courtesy of Eduardo Sorenson/Oceana.

Bogotá’s urban forest imperiled by controversy and inertia

A recent judicial order backing a mayoral plan to carve up the Thomas Van der Hammen Reserve is just the latest controversy around this urban forest. After an outcry from environmentalists and academics, the order was revoked, leaving the reserve in the same state without any progress on an environmental management plan created in 2014. Created from increasingly valuable land just north of Bogotá, the reserve’s wetlands and streams are essential to a complex water cycle. Some 514 species inhabit its grasslands, wetlands and forests, which include the area’s last primal forest, the Mercedes Woods.

Wetlands in the Thomas Van der Hammen Reserve. Image courtesy of Sapiens.

Elections leave Peru’s Amazon in questionable hands

The results of recent elections have started to generate doubts among conservation activists about the new regional governors and the decisions they will make over the next four years. Among the winners and run-off election candidates in the Amazon regions are politicians mired in legal controversies and with a record of causing environmental damage.

The owner of a mining concession is among the candidates in a run-off election in Madre de Dios, the region most affected by illegal mining in Peru. Image courtesy of the Air Force of Peru.

Sharks worth more alive than dead

“A living shark is worth more than $5 million over its lifetime, while its teeth are worth about $200 in the Chinese market,” Colombian researcher Juan Mayorga says in a recent interview. Mayorga is seeking to increase transparency in the world’s fishing industry and stop overfishing and illegal and unregulated fishing.

Juan Mayorga. Image by Juan Mayorga.

Banner image of a jaguar (Panthera onca palustris) on the Piquiri River in the Pantanal, Brazil. Image by Sharp Photography via Wikimedia Commons.

Read these stories in their entirety in Spanish at Mongabay Latam.