Yasuni National Park in Ecuador has been dubbed the most diverse place in the world. The nearly 4,000 square miles are home to 150 species of amphibians, 121 species of reptiles, 382 species of fish, 596 species of birds, over 100,000 species of insects, and a number of un-contacted indigenous tribes. It comprises a mere 0.15% of the Amazon Basin but holds almost 1/3 of its amphibian and reptile species. This area is teeming with life, and yesterday, the government of Ecuador approved a plan to begin drilling for oil inside the boundaries of Yasuni National Park.
Previously a plan was set up to raise the money that would have paid Ecuador not to drill for oil in the pristine forest, but with so little money coming in through donations, the president, Rafael Correa, decided they were left with no alternative than to destroy parts of the forest to dig for oil.
The goal was to aim $3.6 billion, an estimated half of the value of the oil in the park, over 13 years. This plan was launched in 2010 and has since raised a measly $13 million, not nearly enough to give hope to President Correa. However, there are still 10 years remaining, but he seems to have decided that the most diverse area in the entire world is not worth trying to save. The fight has ended and the plan was passed yesterday.
Although the drilling will ‘only affect less than 1%’ of the area in the park, it is well known that it is these sorts of endeavors that lead to hunting inside the parks. It is fairly hard to trek though the jungles, and workers often find it is easier to just shoot the nearest mammal for dinner, whether is be an endangered primate or a pig. The consequences will surely be seen though out the entire park, not just the ‘1%’ of the area that will be desecrated for oil.