AIM: Stop the Bill to reduce the size of Bahuaja-Sonene National ParkMETA: No a la ley que modifica la delimitacion del Parque Nacional Bahuaja-Sonene
SUMMARY: (Sumiso en castellano abajo)
The Peruvian government was considering a new bill that aimed to reduce the area of Bahuaja-Sonene National Park by 19.22%. Not just any 20%, but the very heart of one of Peru's most imporant National Parks, an area known as Candamo. You can view the bill here. A link to all relevant documentation including press release can be found here.
This region lies between the Amazon Lowland Rainforests of south eastern Peru and the Andes. The scope of natural habitats contained within this area result in spectacular biodiversity, the like of which are not to be seen anywhere else on earth. It forms the centre of Conservation International's Vilcabamba-Ambor%uFFFD corridor. The area is home to the Spectacled bear, a close relative of the emblematic Panda. The area boasts a species list of around 1000 birds and is one of the last strongholds of the Military Macaw, Blue-headed Macaw, and Amazonian Parakeet, all listed on the IUCN Red list as endangered or vulnerable species. Any one location within this area will contain up to 600 different species of bird. The site is especially sensitive as it is the headwaters to an area where the livelihood of people is to a large degree dependent on a growing ecotourism industry. Thousands of ecotourists visit Madre-de-Dios every year to visit the incredible spectacles of hundreds of parrots and macaws at clay licks. This is also one of the last strong holds of the world's largest otter - the Giant otter, and jaguars and other large wildlife are also abundant in the area.
The beauty of the National Parks of Peru is that they are areas designated to be free of human disturbance. Not even tourism is permitted, and scientific research only takes place with special permission. These areas are sacred sanctuaries for the wildlife of the area, and a source of pride for the Peruvian people. However, this also means these areas are disenfranchised when it comes to providing a voice for their own protection as there are few active stakeholders to protest against legislation that directly threatens this status.
But a big issue is at stake here. If we cannot stop oil companies operating in a part of the world with incomparable levels of biodiversity, then what of other protected areas in the world. Does our quest for oil and gas really override the importance of our natural heritage? By passing this Bill the Peruvian government will be putting the nail in the coffin of thousands of animals, and hasten many on their way to extinction.
In the Bill the proponents outline how successful the Camisea project has been and that similar natural gas reserves exist in the protected area. Included is a map showing how they wish the new borders of the national park to be drawn up following old exploration "Lotes" or concessions. This give the remains of the park a jagged, unnatural boundary. They state that exploration can be done without harming the environment, however, there exists no documentation to support this view and if this proposal is accepted it gives licence to oil companies to redraw protected areas as they wish. No consideration has been given to alternative extraction techniques. E.g. Extraction could be done at an angle to the north of the park. However, this would be more expensive to the oil companies and it is easier for them to simply redraw the borders of the national park. However, most of the Peruvian Amazon is already zoned into oil and gas exploration Blocks (http://mirror.perupetro.com.pe/exploracion01-e.asp ), so there really is no need for encroaching on the national park.
This version of the petition is a summary. The original text can be read here.
Sumiso en Castellano:
"Instituciones nacionales e internacionales han manifestado su preocupaci%uFFFDn respecto de una propuesta de ley que se present%uFFFD ayer en el Consejo de Ministros, mediante la cual se propone recortar en m%uFFFDs de 209,000 hect%uFFFDreas el Parque Nacional Bahuaja Sonene, en el %uFFFDrea correspondiente a Candamo, para el establecimiento de un nuevo lote de hidrocarburos, todo esto en contra de la opini%uFFFDn t%uFFFDcnica de la Intendencia de Areas Naturales Protegidas del INRENA.
En la cuenca del Candamo se filmo la enteridad del famoso y espectacular documental "Candamo, la ultima tierra sin hombres" divulgado por America Televisi%uFFFDn el a%uFFFDo 1996. Ademas, el recorte tambien afecta severamente la cuenca del rio Tambopata, principal destino ecoturistico de la Amazonia peruana, que recibe mas de 35000 visitantes extranjeros al a%uFFFDo. Se perderia una de los siete santuarios naturales declarados emblematicos%u201C en el mundo por la National Geographic Society en el 2002"