Around the Region

Environmental grievances a factor in Chilean unrest

Economic and social grievances have been widely cited as contributors to the riots that broke out in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 18, setting off a chain reaction of protests and violence that has left 25 dead and 2,500 injured. But concern about environmental degradation in the country, especially in rural areas, has played a role as well, experts say. Proof, they say, can be seen in the environmental issues expected to be addressed in a rewrite of the Chilean constitution that political parties, largely due to the protests, agreed on Nov. 15 to begin discussing in the coming year. Those issues include access to water, natural-resource extraction and pollution associated with electric-power generation. The unlikely catalyst for the ongoing unrest was an increase in Santiago metro fares, and the principal problems cited as fuel for the nationwide rioting and protests that followed were socioeconomic inequality and deficiencies in...

[ Log in to read more | Subscribe ]

Environmental defenders killed in Colombia, Brazil

Lethal violence against environmental advocates in remote regions of Latin America has continued apace, with two such murders this month—one in Brazil, the other in Colombia. The victim in Brazil, killed on Nov. 1, was Paulo Paulino Guajajara, a leader of Guardians of the Forest, an inter-tribal group that conduct patrols to detect illegal land seizures in an Amazon-region indigenous reserve in the state of Maranhão. Two main tribes inhabit the reserve—the Guajajara and the Awá-Guajá, both of which are represented in the Guardians. The Guardians monitor for intrusions in the 4,130-square-kilometer (1,595-square-mile) Arariboia indigenous reserve. Federal Police said Guajajara was shot dead by illegal loggers who ambushed him. Though Guardians typically are armed only with bows and arrows, Guajajara and another group member wounded during the ambush had been carrying rifles because they were hunting. In the exchange of gunfire...

[ Log in to read more | Subscribe ]

Mexican gray wolf’s prospects brighter

The reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) south of the U.S.-Mexican border has experienced its ups and downs, but Mexican members of the binational Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program report that the predator’s chances for survival are improving. María Elena Rodarte of the Mexican government’s National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) calls the presence of two new wolf litters in the Janos Biosphere Reserve of northern Chihuahua state “an excellent sign.” Pups were photographed feeding this year by trap cameras maintained by rural residents who collaborate with wolf recovery. Nearly exterminated by the 1970s, the wolves were reintroduced in the U.S. Southwest in 1998, then in Mexico beginning in 2011. Because the initial Mexican reintroduction in the state of Sonora proved unsuccessful, program managers shifted the effort to neighboring Chihuahua. Since 2014 at least eight litters have been born in the wild, according to Conanp...

[ Log in to read more | Subscribe ]