Development pressure builds along Orinoco


Men dressed in cowboy hats and boots sit at long wooden tables under a leaden sky, drinking beer and eating steak. Nearby, families mill about huge pens filled with hundreds of humped, droopy-eared zebu cattle. An auctioneer shouts out bids as a steady, single-file stream of cattle is driven, by whip and whoop, through chutes into the auctioneer’s corral. The weekly livestock auction is an important moment in the social and economic life of this ranching community of 130,000 in Colombia’s Orinoco River region. Yet it is also one of nostalgia. The ranchers here know they are living out the last glimmer of a cattle culture that has defined the human occupation of the grasslands, wetlands and seasonally flooded plains of the Orinoco... [Log in to read more]

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