Sunday, February 21, 2010

Venezuelan sites still threatened.

Some time ago I put out a series of postings relating to various sites in Venezuela that I'd had the privilege of visiting, but which were now being threatened by agricultural intensification. Whilst they comprise huge ( and I mean huge! ) "ranching" sites, the pockets of habitat, both wetlands and woodlands, were absolutely amazing for their wildlife. Whilst birding in South America, in my opinion, is always going to be a culture shock set against the UK, given the absolute array of species which is present, I can honestly say that trip was one of the best I've experienced.

Sadly, it would seem, the Llanos sites are still being threatened. News that Hato El Cedral has had appreciably sized areas turned into rice paddies and maize fields is disconcerting at best. That any of the remaining areas supporting wildlife will remain in the long term must be in doubt, which is very sad indeed. Sadly the Venezuelan administration appear to pay little heed to more positive overtures pointing out the unique aspects of such places. The sequestration of these areas, from private into government ownership, heralds a change from a land management "style" that has persisted for a very long time indeed. That a compromise solution of partial agricultural intensification under the aegis of the original owners couldn't have been a way forward is disappointing, but perhaps better reflects the policies that are nowadays being applied in the country!

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