Monday October 15, 2018
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Illegal Loggers Threaten ‘Uncontacted Indigenous Tribes’ In The Amazon

The environmental protection agency Ibama responded by sending in patrols in May, which temporarily halted the logging.

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Members of an uncontacted Amazon Basin tribe and their dwellings are seen during a flight over the Brazilian state of Acre along the border with Peru. VOA
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Illegal loggers and militias cleared an area three times the size of Gibraltar in Brazil’s Amazon this year, threatening an “uncontacted” indigenous tribe, activists said on Tuesday.

Satellite imagery collected by Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), a Brazilian advocacy group, detected about 4,600 acres (1,863 hectares) of deforestation this year in the Ituna Itata indigenous land in northern Para state.

“This situation is very worrying,” Juan Doblas, senior geo-processing analyst at ISA, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“There is a series of risks, not only to indigenous territories of uncontacted tribes, but also to other indigenous territories in the area.”

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Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest. Wikimedia Commons

The indigenous affairs agency Funai and the federal police were not immediately available to comment. The environmental protection agency Ibama said in a statement that official data on Amazon deforestation will be released in November.

Brazil’s uncontacted tribes, some of the last on earth, depend on large areas of unspoiled forest land to hunt animals and gather the food they need to survive.

They are particularly vulnerable when their land rights are threatened because they lack the natural immunity to diseases that are carried by outsiders, rights groups say.

Forest loss in Ituna Itata — from which outsiders were banned in 2011 to protect the uncontacted tribe — spiked to about 2,000 acres in August from 7 acres in May, said ISA, which has monitored the area through satellites since January.

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This Sept. 15, 2009 file photo shows a deforested area near Novo Progresso in Brazil’s northern state of Para.. VOA

South America’s largest country is grappling with scores of deadly land conflicts, illustrating the tensions between preserving indigenous culture and economic development.

ISA filed a complaint in April to federal and state authorities about forest destruction and illegal logging in the area during the rainy season, which is unusual, said Doblas.

“It was a sign that something very serious was going to happen,” he said. “It was a preparation for the invasion.”

Also Read: Spix’s Macaw Parrot from Brazil Is Now Extinct

The environmental protection agency Ibama responded by sending in patrols in May, which temporarily halted the logging, he said, adding that ISA plans to file another complaint this week, using updated data and satellite images. (VOA)

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IWC Shuts Down A Proposal To Create A Sanctuary For South Atlantic Whales

The issue has fractured the IWC for decades and there appears to be no room for compromise on either side.

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An effort to create a safe haven for whales in the South Atlantic was defeated Tuesday at the meeting of the (IWC) in Brazil.

The proposal, which was introduced by Brazil in 2001, received support from 39 countries but was opposed by 25, denying it the three-quarters’ majority it needed to pass.

Environmental organizations and conservationists had argued that the sanctuary would not only keep the mammoth mammals safe from hunting, but also protect them from getting entangled in fishing gear or being struck by ships.

But pro-whaling nations, led by Japan, argued there was no need for the sanctuary because no countries were conducting commercial whale hunting in the South Atlantic.

IWC
The South Atlantic Whale. Pixabay

Brazilian Environmental Minister Edson Duarte vowed to push to get the proposal passed at future meetings of the IWC.

“We will work in other meetings of this commission this year to ensure that the sanctuary will finally be created,” Duarte said.

Pro-whaling nations, including Japan, Iceland and Norway, are pushing for resumption of sustainable hunting of whales and are unlikely to allow for the creation of a sanctuary unless their demand is met.

IWC
The proposal, which was introduced by Brazil in 2001, received support from 39 countries but was opposed by 25.

 

Japan, which has pushed for an amendment to the ban for years, accuses the IWC of siding with anti-whaling nations rather than trying to reach a compromise between conservationists and whalers.

 

Also Read: Asia’s Increase In Consumption of Meat to Cause Environmental Problems: Researchers

The issue has fractured the IWC for decades and there appears to be no room for compromise on either side.

The conference ends Sept. 14. (VOA)