CARACAS, Jan 23 (Tierramérica).- Significant advances were made last year in the battle against yellowtail moths (Hylesia metabus) in towns along the northeastern Venezuelan peninsula of Paria. The moths inhabit the mangrove swamps of the Gulf of Paria which separates Venezuela from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
"Of the several million moths found a year ago in 13 municipalities in the area, we now find just a few specimens and only in three districts, thanks to the system of traps, on-site fumigation and aerial spraying over the mangroves," Gregorio Alvarado, the head of environmental affairs in the region, told Tierramérica.
The moths, which measure roughly five centimeters, swarm from the mangroves to nearby towns after dark, attracted by the lights. Females of the species release microscopic urticating hairs that cause a form of dermatitis known as the Caripito itch.
The moths became more widespread after 2004, swept in by the winds of Hurricane Ivan, and turned into a scourge for thousands of inhabitants of the Venezuelan northeast, where the economic mainstays are farming, fishing and tourism.
Alvarado said the campaign against the moths would continue in 2012 with the installation of more traps as well as the possible introduction of other insects which are natural predators that feed on Hylesia metabus larvae.
New Website on Endangered Animals
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 23 (Tierramérica).- The Chico Mendes Institute for the Conservation of Biodiversity (ICMBio), a Brazilian national government agency, has launched a new website with information on endangered species found in the various conservation units for which the institute is responsible.
Information can be retrieved by simply clicking on a selected conservation unit.
"In the state of Amazonas alone there are 19 conservation units, where you can find animals like the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), jaguar (Panthera onca), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis mitis), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) and others, all of them in danger of extinction," Ugo Vercillo, coordinator of Conservation Management at ICMBio, told Tierramérica.
Close to one half of the endangered animal species are in the conservation areas under the jurisdiction of the institute. "Data like these demonstrate the importance of the conservation units in the preservation of species," stressed Vercillo.
The information on the website is from the Atlas of Endangered Brazilian Fauna in Federal Conservation Units, produced by ICMBio.
Regional Loan for Wastewater Treatment
TEGUCIGALPA, Jan 23 (Tierramérica).- The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) has approved a one-million-dollar loan to finance a wastewater management project in the Honduran capital, aimed at combating pollution in the Guacerique River basin, one of the city’s main sources of water.
The general manager of the public National Aqueducts and Sewers Service (SANAA), Danilo Alvarado, told Tierramérica that the project will include the clean-up of garbage dumps in nearby areas, the training of local communities in solid waste management, and the installation of water purification plants in strategic sites throughout Tegucigalpa.
Alvarado stressed that during the summer months, Tegucigalpa residents face strict rationing of drinking water because of the depletion of some of its main sources of water, the result of deforestation and pollution caused by heaps of garbage near rivers.
Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine Available in Clinics
HAVANA, Jan 23 (Tierramérica).- Some 500 lung cancer patients at 65 polyclinics in Cuba have begun to receive treatment with the CimaVax-EGF therapeutic vaccine, developed by the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) on the western outskirts of the country’s capital.
Grisel Rodríguez, coordinator of the treatment project, told Tierramérica that the low toxicity of the vaccine made it possible to introduce its use in the country’s primary health care system in 2011. Treatment with the vaccine improves the quality of life of lung cancer sufferers.
Throughout the development cycle of CimaVax-EGF approximately 2,000 patients have been treated with the vaccine in Cuba, she added.
In Cuba, all health care services, no matter how complex, are free of charge for the entire population. The CIM is currently conducting 45 clinical trials with newly developed drugs including eight for the treatment of cancer, Rodríguez reported. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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