Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Because it is one of the most inaccessible places on earth, this large, rich ecosystem has remained relatively untouched. There is, however, increasing evidence that this area is threatened by a number of activities, including mining, illegal hunting and fishing, indiscriminate use of fire, agricultural development, and deforestation. Careless use of mercury in gold mining, particularly in the northern Pantanal, may have resulted in acute and chronic ecosystem disruption (Hylander et al. 1994, Nogueira et al. 1997, Leady and Gottgens 2001). Wildlife poaching and live animal trade are widespread although hard to quantify. During six months in 1985, the skins of an estimated 500,000 animals, including jaguars, maned wolves, caimans, and snakes were exported to Europe, Asia, and North America (Anonymous 1985). Pet collectors focus on a variety of animals, including monkeys, parrots, and macaws. A pair of hyacinth macaws has a market value between US$8,000 and US$10,000 in the United States and Europe (Mittermeier et al. 1990). Only a fraction of this trade is confiscated and, although enforcement has improved, the majority of offenders are never captured.
Environmental Degradation; South-America; Large Rivers; Wetlands
Gottgens, Johan F.; Perry, James E.; and al, et, The Paraguay-Paraná Hidrovía: Protecting the Pantanal with Lessons from the Past: Large-scale channelization of the northern Paraguay-Paraná seems to be on hold, but an ongoing multitude of smaller-scale activities may turn the Pantanal into the next example of the “tyranny of small decisions” (2001). Bioscience, 51(4), 301-308.