On November 19th, Dr José Luis Casaccia, Paraguay's former Minister of the Environment and Dr Alberto Yanosky, Executive Director of Guyra Paraguay gave a presentation at the House of Commons to bring the ecological disaster taking place in the Paraguayan Chaco to the attention of the UK Government.
At its peak in May this year, the rate of deforestation in the Chaco reached the equivalent of 1,500 football pitches a day. In 2008, 563,388 acres (228,000 hectares) of Chaco were logged to make way for agriculture, largely cattle ranches. Alarmingly, by the end of October 2009 already 654,815 acres (265,000 hectares) has been irreversibly lost, with estimates that this years total will exceed 741,300 acres (300,000 hectares). At this rate the rich biodiversity of the Chaco will all be lost in 30 years' time if no action is taken.
In their presentation, Dr Casaccia and Dr Yanosky alerted the UK Government to the urgency of the situation in this remote area of wilderness, which is little-known to most of the world. They urged the world community to join with them in the fight to save the Chaco. Publicising the issue in UK Parliament is an important step in increasing national and international attention and gaining critical support to halt this ecological crisis.
After the event
The presentation to the House of Commons was part of a week long visit to the UK hosted by WLT's partners, Guyra Paraguay. While in the UK Dr Casaccia and Dr Yanosky attended a series of interviews and meetings and gave several presentations to raise awareness of the continuing destruction of this wildlife paradise. To find out more about the project in Paraguay and how you can help save the forests of the Chaco, see our Chaco/Pantanal project page.
For more information about their visit and the destruction of the Chaco, see Deforestation in Paraguay: Over 1500 football pitches lost a day in the Chaco.