SANTIAGO, May 28 (Tierramérica).- The Chilean government declared a health alert in the town of Freirina, 800 km north of Santiago, in response to the pollution and foul odor emanating from the nearby Agrosuper pork processing plant.
The measure was announced after local residents had blocked the access roads to the slaughterhouse for six days, leading to violent clashes with the police.
“The government’s decision was prompted by the protests staged by the townspeople of Freirina, who have been asking to be heard for nine months and had not succeeded until now,” Isabel Allende, the senator for the region, told Tierramérica.
Under the health alert, the plant will be temporarily shut down until the problems creating the foul odors are resolved and the possible environmental damage is mitigated.
Program to Protect Highly Endangered Bird
CARACAS, May 28 (Tierramérica).- The Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research and Bararida Zoo in the city of Barquisimeto are launching a program to protect the red siskin (Carduelis cucullata), a highly endangered bird that lives in the country’s northwest region.
"We will be conducting research to establish the genetic bases of wild populations of the red siskin, as well as gathering specimens for breeding in captivity, in order to eventually reintroduce them into their natural habitat,” veterinarian Leonel Ovalle of the Bararida Zoo told Tierramérica.
It is hoped that other governmental and non-governmental agencies will join the initiative, added Ovalle.
The original habitat of the red siskin included western and northern Venezuelan, but its populations have been decimated by trapping for the cage bird trade. The little bird with bright red plumage is on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Mapping the Jaguar Genome
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 28 (Tierramérica).- Deciphering the gene map of the jaguar (Panthera onca) is the goal of a new project being jointly undertaken by a number of Brazilian institutions.
The jaguar is the world’s third largest feline after the lion and the tiger, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
Today it is a near threatened species throughout the hemisphere, particularly as a result of the loss and fragmentation of its habitat and hunting. The project will attempt to map the genome of a specimen living in the Pantanal, a tropical wetland biome in central-western Brazil.
The researchers will subsequently analyze genetic information on jaguars from other regions of the Americas, in order to gather data on the characteristics that contribute to the adaptation of the species to different environments.
“We will gain a greater understanding of the evolutionary history of the jaguar, which will help us to develop more precise strategies for its conservation,” researcher Luiz Lehmann Coutinho told Tierramérica.
The project is being carried out by the Luiz de Queiroz School of Higher Agricultural Studies and the University of São Paulo, with the support of the State of São Paulo Research Foundation.
Satellite Monitoring of Natural Resources
TEGUCIGALPA, May 28 (Tierramérica).- A satellite monitoring system donated by the government of Taiwan will enable the creation of a database of natural resources in Honduras and the damages they could suffer as a result of disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes.
The system will enhance the government’s capacities for natural resource management through the use of appropriate and modern technology, Trinidad Suazo, director of the Forest Conservation Institute, told Tierramérica.
Until now, natural resource monitoring and inventory activities were highly rudimentary and in need of more adequate tools, said Suazo. The data gathered through the satellite system can also contribute to the early detection of potential threats, he added.
The system will also be installed at the National School of Forestry Sciences, where agricultural engineers and forest rangers are trained. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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