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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 22:47 GMT
Acres of Paraguayan wetland saved
By Andrew Bomford
BBC Radio 4

Arne Lesterhuis of the Paraguayan bird life charity, Guyra
The Pantanal is home to some 3,500 species of plants
A British charity has moved to save thousands of acres of environmentally important wetland in South America from destruction.

The land, in the Pantanal area of northern Paraguay, has been bought by the World Land Trust, working in partnership with Guyra, a Paraguayan bird life charity.

It is one of a number of land purchase projects which the UK organisation, based in Halesworth, Suffolk, is working on.

The Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world and includes parts of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Large parts of it are threatened by deforestation through logging and agricultural activities such as soy production.

There are more than 300 species of fish that we know very little about
Jose Luis Cartes
One study recently estimated 17% of its native vegetation had been destroyed.

It is home to some 3,500 species of plants, 650 species of birds and hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles and fish. Rare mammals include the giant anteater, giant otter, giant armadillo, jaguar and puma.

Deforestation

"There are many reasons why we should save the Pantanal," says Jose Luis Cartes from Guyra, "like all the knowledge we would lose if it disappears.

"For instance there are more than 300 species of fish that we know very little about.

"There are some reserves and national parks there, but they only tend to exist on paper. Deforestation there is very high," he added.

The Sid Templer Reserve, as it is now known, covers 3,600 hectares (about 10,000 acres) and there are plans to expand it to 10,000 hectares.

Although the area has been bought by World Land Trust, it is owned and managed by Guyra.




SEE ALSO
Soybean fever transforms Paraguay
06 Jun 05 |  Business
Soya boom threat to South America
03 Sep 04 |  Science/Nature
Amazon destruction speeds up
27 Jun 03 |  Americas
Country profile: Paraguay
11 Mar 03 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Paraguay
11 Mar 03 |  Country profiles

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