Some whales may benefit from Japan’s whaling commission exit

More than 2,000 illegal mining sites in the Amazon, a wetland in Chile threatened by a highway extension, and a possible new monkey species in Peru were among the top stories from our Spanish-language service, Mongabay Latam.

Interactive map shows more than 2,300 illegal mining sites across the Amazon

A new interactive map shows 2,312 illegal diamond, gold and coltan mines across the Amazon. Satellite images, reports from indigenous communities and local environmental organizations, and public notices informed the report titled “Sacked Amazon,” by the Amazon Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information Network. Of 245 unauthorized extraction areas in the map, three are in Bolivia, 132 in Brazil (mainly in the Tapajós River region), and 110 in the Madre de Dios region of Peru.

Gran Sabana mines at Canaima National Park, State of Bolivar, Venezuela.

Wetlands that are home to a third of Chile’s bird species threatened by highway extension

Of 500 bird species in Chile, at least 189 have been observed in the wetlands of the Lluta River. Located along the border with Peru and Bolivia, this destination for migratory and endemic species is threatened by a proposed highway extension and surrounding development. Only 2 percent of the estimated 18,000 wetlands in Chile are protected.

A whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) in Arica. Image by Jorge Fuente.

Panoramic views of Peruvian Amazon’s destruction

Photos and videos provided by the Peruvian Air Force reveal panoramic views of the destruction of the country’s Amazon forest by illegal mining, logging and narcotrafficking. Some images, such as those over Bahuaja Sonene National Park, revealed two clandestine air strips and two small planes with Bolivian registration. Other images were later georeferenced to plan operations against illegal mining in Tambopata National Park.

The first images taken by the Air Force offered details of the destruction. Image courtesy of CEVAN/FAP.

Search for spectacled bears in Peru may have found new monkey species

A biologist and a filmmaker in search of spectacled bears in Peru might have found a new monkey species. Biologist Sean McHugh and filmmaker and photographer Jasmina McKibben were in the Junín region in the Pui Pui protected forest where they left 28 camera traps that photographed at least 25 mammal species, including a population of Peruvian yellow-tailed woolly monkeys (Lagothrix flavicauda) that showed characteristics of a possible new species.

The researchers found a population of Lagothrix flavicauda in the Junín region of Peru. Image by Sean McHugh and Jasmina McKibben/Rainforest Partnership.

Not under control: Hidroituango hydropower project still endangers Colombian communities

“Populations are still at risk, even if it’s not as high as in May,” an engineering professor told Mongabay Latam after hearing about new licensing requirements for the Hidroituango dam, part of Colombia’s largest hydropower project. “As long as the tunnels are not ready and sealed, we can’t say the situation is under control,” he added. A giant sinkhole accelerated the closure of a gate to the Cauca River and prompted 28 new environmental licensing requirements.

Hidroituango’s internal structures were inundated to prevent the Cauca River from flooding 12 communities. Image by Medellin Public Utilities.

Not all bad news: Some whale species benefit from Japan’s exit from whaling commission

While Japan’s recent confirmation that it is leaving the International Whaling Commission is bad for diplomacy, it might be good for some whale species. In an interview with Mongabay Latam, Elsa Cabrera, executive director of the Cetacean Conservation Center and an accredited observer of IWC meetings, said Japan could resume commercial hunting of certain species in its own waters, but will no longer hunt them on the high seas, most notably the Arctic.

Some whales may benefit from Japan’s whaling commission exit
Caudal fin of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaengliae). Image by Juan Capella.

Read these stories in Spanish at the Mongabay Latam site here.

This story first appeared on Mongabay

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