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Budget Woes Threaten Mexico's Green Reputation

Joshua Partlow - The Washington Post
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December 4, 2015
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Endangered Mexican prairie dogs and a pair of ultra-rare Worthen’s sparrows greeted the pickup truck bouncing down a dirt track in this remote northern desert. But the two environmentalists aboard were after an even more elusive prize.

“Stop!” one shouted, his binoculars trained on a distant mountain. Enrique Cisneros of the Mexican Fund for Nature Conservation thought he’d spotted a golden eagle, the national symbol that has all but vanished from the country. But just as suddenly, the bird was gone.

“It requires a lot of time to observe them,” said Alejandro Lozano, a professor of wildlife management who sat alongside him. “And many people, too.”

And that is a problem. In Mexico, conservationists say, environmental oversight is becoming as vulnerable as the wildlife, as program budgets have shrunk and scores of employees at the agency that monitors protected areas have been fired. This year, Mexican environmentalists have repeatedly voiced alarm about the federal government’s commitment to conservation.

Amid the austerity push, this vast stretch of high plains — one of the golden eagle’s last homes in Mexico — has emerged as a particular test of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s policies. Environmentalists are waiting to see whether Peña Nieto will proceed with a plan for a biosphere reserve here covering more than 6 million acres of desert or side with the large gold and silver mining companies that oppose the proposal at its current size.

Some see little reason to bet that Peña Nieto’s administration will side with protecting the environment.

Read the rest at The Washington Post

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out Banderas Bay Initiative

  Check out The Western Ecological Society

  Check out Grupo Ecologico de Puerto Vallarta


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