[Translation by Bing Translator.]
By Francesca Garcia Delgado
3 September 2016
(El Comercio) – Between October 2015 and July 2016, illegal gold mining deforested 238 hectares of forest (equivalent to 326 soccer fields) in the buffer of the Bahuaja Sonene National Park (USD35) zone, located between Madre de Dios and Puno regions. This protected area is one of the most biodiverse in the world.
According to the analysis of satellite imagery by the MAAP (for its acronym in English) project by the Association for the Amazon conservation (ACCA) and the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA), this area, belonging to the upper basin of the river Malinowski, has been gradually invaded by illegal miners. In total, between 2013 and 2015 850 hectares of forest have been depleted in this place.
The images captured in October 2015 and July 2016 show how illegal miners have modified kilometers of river edge and cleared the forest in only nine months. To search for gold in the river they use front loaders, dump trucks of high tonnage, dredges, and chutes.
"From the year 2015, the growth of illegal mining intensified in the area due to the immigration of illegal miners of La Pampa and Macaw [in the reserve of Tambopata in Madre de Dios], who were fleeing from the actions of the Government ban", he explained to trade David Aranibar, head of the USD35.
The official said that the impact caused by illegal mining is incalculable since it is an area of high vulnerability and biological diversity, even greater than the national reserve of Tambopata, also affected by this activity.
Aranibar called for greater coordination with the national police and the Navy to deal with illegal miners. Currently, only eight Park Rangers of the national service for Protected Areas (Sernanp) protect this territory of 1,091,416 hectares.
Faced with the advance of illegal mining, the authorities have established a checkpoint near the territories of the native community Kotsimba. Difficulty accessing is one of the major problems to undertake actions.
According to the information of the Sernanp, while reach the area for foreign people to extract gold, this activity involves also members of the community.