Our Kaa-Iya National Park is in PERIL

I visited the Kaa-Iya (this article writes Caa Iya, but i changed it to Kaa-Iya as that was the way the Izoceno leaders taught me) at least three times and was always amazed with the ecosystem and the people, the Izocenos are friendly, proud individuals. Kaa-Iya is located in the Chaco region, which we share with Paraguay and Argentina; this beautiful park is the size of Costa Rica; peanuts come originally from the Chaco region; you could also see huge armadillos which are born blind as they degenerated over centuries. Every tree, bush in the area has thorns to protect themselves from been eaten; the Chaco is a very hot and dry place. Early in the morning you could see an orangish sun and at times you may think you are somewhere in Africa. As you drive in the sand, the sand coming out of the tires look like you are navigating in a sea sand. It is amazing and worthwhile protecting!

El Deber reported today:

Fauna. Many cattle ranches close to the park boundaries, kill felines to protect their cattle. (Photo from El Deber, 11/19/11)

Environmental impact is taking place in the Natural area of integrated management (ANMI in Spanish) of the Kaa-Iya (masters of the bushes/woods) Park in the Gran Chaco region; in the Southwest and North bordering with the municipality of San José de Chiquitos. Kaa-Iya is Bolivia’s largest protected area (3.4 million hectares) and rich in biodiversity.

An inspection carried out by a commission of the protected areas (DIAP) from Santa Cruz governorate; along with the Captain Office of the high and low Isoso (CABI); verified that from a three-hour drive south of Quimome (San José de Chiquitos jurisdiction), there is an illegal incursion, which cleared 400 meters of forest inside the ANMI. The measurement of the environmental damage was made with equipment connected to the geographic information system(GIS) through satellite.

The verified area was deforested by Mennonites. In this regard, DIAP’s Director, Juan Carlos Añez, indicated that it should be investigated whether the Mennonites have authorization from competent authorities to carry out this task.

Anez blamed the management of the Park for omitting to address the complaint,  a month ago, by CABI which registered the environmental damage. In the affected area, according to Anez, there can be no activities of extraction of natural resources.

Deforestation causes water and climate imbalance which has an impact on the low flow of the River Parapetí, which affects wildlife.

Cattle posts located 140 km from Pozo del Tigre showed that there are ‘controlled hunting’. They paid around $ 150 dollars to eliminate felines, which are a threat to their livestock. Felines are slaughtered on farms, not inside the Kaa-Iya Park.

Delcio Moreno, leader of the CABI, said that apart from clearing the forest, there are settlers who have ventured inside the Park, although during the inspection there was no evidence of this.

The director of the Gran Chaco Kaa-Iya Park, Rosa Cuéllar, reported that there is indeed a clearing of forest in the edge of the protected area and that the version of the Commission is political, because CABI showed no evidence of the invasion of peasant and/or Mennonites of 21,000 hectares as reflected in the complaint.
The forest and land (ABT) Authority indicated that it will be investigated to see if the slush and burn verified practices had a permit to do so.
In San José de Chiquitos an inter-agency Commission was formed to defend the natural resources of the area.
“Break ecosystems”
Roberto Vides / Dr. in biological sciences
The dynamics of deforestation is given by the expansion of Mennonite colonies and large agro-industrial products that are generating a very strong change in vegetation cover. They are cutting the biological and functional connectivity between the Chaco ecosystems preserved in Kaa-Iya with the chiquitano forest.
Deforestation leaves desert soils and generates loss of coverage and water retention. Killing animals, even outside the Kaa-Iya, is illegal.

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