Gold fever in Peru and cryptic fish from the deep

The most popular stories from our Spanish-language service, Mongabay-Latam, followed new deforestation from gold mining in Peru, new fish species deep in Chile’s sea, mining on Ecuador’s beaches, and hundreds of dead turtles in Mexico.

Gold mining tears through Peru’s Amazon

A new study shows that gold mining in Peru’s Madre de Dios region has cleared more forest than originally estimated: 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) in 2017 alone. Since 1985, more than 950 square kilometers (367 square miles) have been lost. Most of the deforestation in the last 32 years occurred in the buffer zones of three protected areas.

Sites mined with mercury, many of them abandoned without any attempt at environmental rehabilitation, scar a 20-kilometer (12-mile) stretch of the Madre de Dios forest. Image by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.

Atacama Trench: New species observed in Pacific depths of Chilean coast

Gelatinous fish, scavenger crustaceans, octopuses and strange worms have been seen for the first time, 8 kilometers (5 miles) deep in the most extensive trench in the world along the Peruvian and Chilean coasts. This year, for the first time, an expedition reached the bottom by sending a robot to take samples from this unknown abyss.

Gold fever in Peru and cryptic fish from the deep
One of the species found in the Atacama Trench. Image courtesy of the Millennium Institute of Oceanography.

Mining the metallic sands of Ecuador’s beaches

Mining concessions have taken over the black sands of Playa Negra in Ecuador’s Esmeraldas province. The mining of the metallic sand in search of iron and titanium is happening on beach zones that buffer protected areas. There are eight such concessions on the beaches of three of Ecuador’s Pacific provinces.

Ecuador’s Environment Ministry has ordered a halt to all mining on Playa Negra. Image courtesy of the Mompiche Commune.

Hundreds of turtles die in nets off Mexico

Almost 400 sea turtles found dead and rotting on the western coast of Mexico in April were caught in abandoned, illegal nets, a crime that carries a jail sentence of up to nine years. Mexico is the site of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches in the world. Juan Carlos Cantú, head of the Mexican program of the Defenders of Wildlife, says such accidental capture, illegal capture for their meat, and taking of their eggs in nesting season are now the biggest threats to sea turtles.

Turtles coming to shore in La Flor-San Juan del Sur Wildlife Refuge in Nicaragua. Image courtesy of Paso Pacifico.

Peruvian indigenous group uses an app to fight mining

Members of the Masenawa indigenous community in Peru’s Amazon documented the presence of an illegal mining camp through a mobile app called ForestLink, developed by the Rainforest Foundation UK. Once a group that works with the community had evidence that the miners were working in a zone close to the Amarakaeri communal reserve in the south of Manu National Park, they shared the information with government officials.

Police responded to the reports of illegal mining, one of the main threats to the communities and biodiversity of Madre de Dios, by destroying heavy equipment and arresting five suspects. Image by FENAMAD.

Read all these stories in full at Mongabay-Latam in Spanish here.

This story first appeared on Mongabay

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