Central American poaching rises amid pandemic


An ornate hawk-eagle [Spizaetus ornatus] killed by hunters in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. (Photo by Francisco Asturias)

Poaching and animal trafficking have been on the rise in Latin America as economies have struggled to recover from the pandemic and communities have turned to killing and capturing a variety of species to eat or sell. In Guatemala’s vast Maya Biosphere Reserve, home to ancient indigenous ruins and thousands of species of flora and fauna, nearby communities have normally depended on tourism and work at archeological sites for income. But as some sites suspended work and tourism slowed to a trickle, many local residents turned to hunting, contributing to a spike in poaching, conservationists say. In neighboring Mexico, authorities reported a nearly sevenfold increase in the number of animals confiscated from illegal traffickers in 2020 as jobs in the country dried up. For its part, even conservation-minded Costa Rica has seen an uptick in the number of reports of illegal hunting in the first four months of this... [Log in to read more]

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