Peruvian Highway Plans Threaten Most Bio-diverse Place on Earth

Thursday February 19, 2015
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Peruvian Highway Plans Threaten Most Bio-diverse Place on Earth

Last October Manú National Park in the Amazon of Peru was proclaimed the most bio-diverse area of the world by TEAM, Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring . UNESCO also recognizes this honor. Unsurprisingly, Manu is under threat of destruction on various fronts. Gas exploration and extraction projects are invading the area, while illegal logging, mining, and drug trafficking groups also take a major toll on the park. To add to this list of threats, the Peruvian government has plans to extend the PE-5S highway through Manú National Park.

So far 109 kms of the road have been paved, but the plan is for PE-5S to run a total of 1,074 kms from the town of Pardo of Junin, through the Cusco region via Camisea and then through the Madre de Dios region hitting up the towns of Boca Manu, Huancaino, Virgenes del Sol, and ending near the Bolivian border and the Tambopata-Candamo reserved zone. Not only does this mean that the new highway will violate the protected Manú National Park, but also the supposedly 'protected natural areas' of the Tambopata national reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene national park.

The PE-5S highway will not only severely impact the natural environment of Manú National Park, but also its indigenous residents and tribes. This includes people living in 'isolation' and 'initial contact.' Creating a highway through their homeland will destroy their protected way of traditional life while also destroying the forest and rivers they depend on for survival. Read The Guardian article for more information on how the PE-5S highway will threaten indigenous tribes and the environment.

To give an idea of why Manú earned the title of most bio-diverse place on earth, it is home to over 1,000 species of birds, 1,200 species of butterflies, and 2.2% of the world's amphibian species. How many of these species will survive with a shinny new highway grinding through their forest?

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