What Price ‘Free Trade’?

Potential reduction of the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park

Tambopata River, photo credit: Rainforest Expeditions

In the era of the environmental crusader you may be surprised to read about the threatening predicament faced by the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, a sacred mega-diverse national reserve of lowland Amazonian rainforest and cloudforest in Peru. Set against the background the new Trade Promotion Agreement between the USA and Peru, an agreement Peruvian President Garcia termed ‘a new deal’ for global trade – a bill was proposed in September to reduce the size of this protected rainforest by an astonishing 209,000 hectares. Why? To give the oil and gas companies (namely Mobil) free reign to start exploration.

Understandably, a local and international outcry followed given the move which US Member of Congress Earl Blumenauer deemed as being, “… contrary to the spirit of this ‘new deal’,” and an “… inappropriate exchange of trade and investment by weakening and reducing the protections afforded in Peru’s environmental laws.”

Happily, the furore has apparently halted the Bill’s progress, and even sparked a denial of its very existence by the Vice Minister of Energy, Pedro Gamio!

To see this natural phenomenon yourself, you can travel with Aracari to neighbouring Tambopata, a pristine area of Amazonian rainforest and cloudforest, a 25 minute flight from Cuzco. Over the past 20 years, researchers have recorded more species of birds, butterflies and other species than any other area of comparable size in the world. It is also home to the largest macaw claylick in the world, where you can witness the incomparable sight of hundreds of macaws gathering to ingest the minerals that are essential for their diet. Click here to see some rainforest itineraries, or contact us for more information.

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