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Andean Region


Peru park’s biodiversity at risk from illegal mining, drug production

Illegal logging and cocaine production and trafficking have for years blighted Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in the Peruvian Amazon.

Bahuaja Sonene National Park

If the locations of illegal activities were marked on a map, the magnitude of the illegal mining and drug-trafficking problems in Peru’s Bahuaja-Sonene National Park would be obvious.

The natural protected area covers 10,900 square kilometers (4,200 square miles) and mainly includes the rainforests of the Puno region in southern Peru, as well as the southern part of the Madre de Dios region.

But this protected area is in danger. Illegal mining and drug trafficking are taking place in the park’s buffer zone and, in some cases, have even crossed into the park. According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Bahuaja-Sonene National Park has the world’s highest amount of illegally cultivated coca within a protected area: 118 hectares (290 acres) are growing within the park. Local authorities say that due to drug trafficking, about 473 hectares (1,170 acres) have been deforested within the park, an area nearly one and a half times the size of New York City’s Central Park.

This article is incomplete. Click here to read the full text from its original source, Mongabay
Photo Credit: Aldo Santos

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