Archive for the ‘Environmental Destruction & Deforestation’ Category
Today I want to share with you a very powerful documentary that will give you a behind the scenes look at the destruction of Ecuadors Amazon and the human rights abuses inflicted on its indigenous communities by Oil Companies.
The documentary film is called Ikiam and was shot by Simone Francis, an Australian social entrepreneur that runs Nomadic Hands. I met at the Sydney Latin Film Festival for the world premier for Ikiam and since then we have collaborated on a number of projects aimed at raising awareness of the massive destruction taking place in the Amazon.
If you believe like us that these grave injustices towards the environment and people of the Amazon should stop then please consider sharing this documentary and helping us get the word out. If you have any questions after watching it then leave a message in the comments and im sure we can get Simone to answer you personally.
Bamby the beloved Tapir that has enchanted our volunteers at the Animal Rescue Center for years has been killed. Medardo who has cared for Bamby for over 15 years since she was a baby tapir is devestated – she was like a child to him.
The Amazonian Tapir or Bairds Tapir is the largest land animal native to South America. It is also an endangered species especially in Ecuador due to deforestation and habitat reduction as well as its meat being considered a delicacy for many indigenous tribes.
Until this horrible news Bamby was one of the Animal Rescue Centers best success stories. The way Animal Rescue Centers work is that they are delivered animals that have been rescued off deforested land or from the black market in animal trafficking. The Animals are then “rehabilitated” which is to say they learn in a safe environment how to survive on their own before they are released back into the wild.
You need to be very careful when choosing to volunteer at an “Animal Rescue Center” in Ecuador and South America because many claim to rehabilitate and release the animals but actually work like little Zoos.
These places keep the exotic animals in cages and claim they will release them into the wild but never do because they attract the money of foreign volunteers. Here is more on the subject:
Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Centres (ARRCs) – Are you being conned?
If you are planning to volunteer at an ARRC, go in with your eyes open; consider the following (my opinion);
o For some ARRCs the temptation to rip-off their volunteers is hard to resist.
o Working in some ARRC’s may be counter-productive if they maintain a ‘stock’ of animals to attract volunteers.
o There is a view some in western fund-raising circles that *all* South American ARRC’s are corrupt.
You can read the rest on volunteersouthamerica.net in the article called Volunteer Scams and Warnings
The Animal Rescue Center we partner with works in a way that the animals are free to roam around the 75 hectares of primary rainforest on the Centers property. As the animals become more confident they stray further away from the Animal Rescue Center but they always have the option to come back to the secure base for food.
The Amazonian Tapir is a solitary and nocturnal animal that roams great distances in search for food and a mate. As I have already mentioned Bamby was one of the greatest success stories at the Animal Rescue Center because she had become increasingly independent and straying further and further away from the center and sometimes would not be seen for weeks.
I remember when two of our voulnteers Brian and Michelle from South Africa said they went looking for Bamby with Medardo because she had been missing for over 2 months – Medardo loved her so much he started crying when tey found her – she had never disappeared for so long.
The next time Bamby went missing Medardo only found her bones.
After Bamby the Tapir had been rehabilitated and released into the wild she often returned to the Animal Rescue Center for the next 20 years of her life.
In the end she would die in the wild but does that justify the other so called Rehabilitation Centers that keep their animals in cages for their own “protection”? Or did Bamby deserve the right to live free regardless of the risks?
Few of these Amazonian tribes live as they did as little as 50 years ago and fewer still remain uncontacted by what we egotistically refer to as “civilization.”
The uncontacted tribes that remain in the Amazon are under threat as illegal loggers, poachers (and in Ecuadors case the Oil Companies) ruthlessly push further and further into the jungle. Another of the biggest dangers to these tribes is that their immune systems have been sheltered from the innumerous diseases and infections of modern civilization and something as small as the common cold can wipe them out like they did to the Australian Aboriginies and other indigenous groups in world history.
We need to do more to protect these peoples so that history does not repeat.
Uncontacted Tribes of the Ecuadorian Amazon
Because Ecuador has the fastest rate of deforestation in the entire Amazon basin and the largest oil reserves outside of Venezuela the rich and magical cultures of the Kichwa, Shuar, and Huaorani have had no choice but to change and adapt to an increasingly brutal and unjust world to survive.
The majority of these tribes have had to abandon the nomadic lifestyle and setup small villages to protect their territory from illegal land grabs and sadly in the worst effected areas some of these tribes have abandoned their native religion and language as well.
Ecuador does however have as many as five tribes living in voluntary isolation that have refused to be eaten up by the modern world. These tribes are of the Huaorani ethnicity and are called the Tagaeri, the Huiñatare, the Oñamenane, and two groups of the Taromenane that currently live the naked and nomadic life of their ancestors inside the Yasuni Biosphere and along the border of Peru.
The impending drilling of the giant oil fields inside Yasuni National Park will change all of that.
Today in Ecuador many people doubt these tribes still exist and the oil companies with vested interests in the Yasuni have rigorously tried to push this view. A friend who works in the Ministry of Environment in Coca has seen aerial photos taken by the Ecuadorian Military that prove their existence but the government will not release them – the optimist in me hopes this is to conceal their location instead of attempting to conform to the oil companies powerful point of view.
From time to time other evidence emerges that is too hard to refute about the existence of these tribes – like the body of a illegal rare wood logger found in Yasuni National Park with 7 spears in his stomach. Or reports that these illegal loggers murdered five uncontacted tribes people and cut off their heads to intimidate them.
Uncontacted Tribes of the Brazillian Amazon
We know very little about the language and cultures and even whereabouts of many of the Amazons uncontacted tribes. Sadly a few of South Americas governments like Peru have used this as an excuse to claim they do not even exist. To counter this stupidity a documentary with some fascinating footage of an uncontacted tribe in Brazil has been released to defend the rights of these people. You can see part of it here:
You can help by signing this petition addressed to President Humala of Peru to step up and protect the human rights of these people.