‘Most Biodiverse Place On Earth’ Targeted For Gas Drilling

Documents leaked to the The Guardian reveal secret plans of harvesting gas reserves located deep in the Peruvian Amazon. This is no surprise, as fossil fuel companies have made attempts to penetrate this pristine wilderness for years. The real shocker is that this particular chunk of jungle is located inside Manú national park, an area protected by the Peruvian government and home to indigenous people who have no regular contact with the outside world.

Tempted by Big Gas’ money and likely intimidated by their political bullying, rumors are already circling that the Peruvian government will surrender by a gas concession bordering or including parts of the park. If successful, it will mean chaos for a region where Unesco says biodiversity ‘exceeds that of any other place on Earth,’ and almost certain death for the tribes that have lived within it for centuries.

The leaked document is titled Research Plan for Geological Exploration and Surface Geochemistry in the Manú National Park and its Buffer Zone. According to The Guardian, it was written by Lima-based consultancy Quartz Services for company Pluspetrol, which operates an existing gas concession in the region, Lot 88, known as the Camisea project.

“It’s shocking. This is the first time we’ve seen evidence for plans to expand hydrocarbon activities into Manú,” said anthropologist Daniel Rodriguez, who has worked with Peruvian indigenous federation Fenamad for years.

So why should we care about the fate of this Peruvian park? After all, fossil fuel companies have been operating in and around protected lands for decades. Well, aside from the fact that National Parks are formed specifically to prevent these types of invasions, it’s the threat of what we could lose if Pluspetrol is allowed to pillage this untouched area.

Despite the high diversity of plant species in this region, the flora of Manú is still poorly known. In the last 10 years, 1,147 plant species have been identified in the park within quite a small area, and it is likely that the number of species to be found within the park is well over this figure. Who knows, the cure for a deadly disease could be lurking in there, but we’ll never know because it’ll be trampled by bulldozers and drilling crews before we discover it.

And that’s only the plants. The park is inhabited by at least four different native groups: the Machiguenga, the Mascho-Piro, the Yaminahua and the Amahuaca. Very little is known about the Amahuaca and Yaminahua distribution and their numbers are relatively small. What are the odds that Pluspetrol is going to ask their permission before effectively poisoning lands that have been their home for generations?

One anthropologist told the Guardian under condition of anonymity that Quartz’s plans, if put into practice, would seriously endanger people in Manú.

“It says it will do ‘a direct study of human cultures’, but doesn’t say who exactly that would involve,” said the anthropologist. “Even settled communities in Manú contacted 50 years ago remain extremely vulnerable to any kind of illness.”

Pluspetrol refused to comment. Surprise, surprise.


Related Reading:

5 Species That Made A Comeback In 2012

Biodiversity Loss Threatens Global Economy

6 Problems Caused By Shrinking Biodiversity


Image via Thinkstock

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Magdika Cecilia Perez

thank you

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Edvanir L.
Edvanir L.2 years ago

Similar thing is happening in the Brazilian Amazon. They are destroying the area to plant soy beans, and Indigenous people are suffering the consequences.

Mark Donners
Mark Donners2 years ago

To repeat the post below, the update on this story is that PlusPetrol's destructive venture has been STOPPED after being exposed. Pluspetrol backtracked from its planned gas project in the Manu national park (also a World Heritage Site) in Peru the link is http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/8983

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege2 years ago

Native people should be warned. They should know all the ins and outs.

Brian M.
Past Member 2 years ago

It is reasonable to assume that the elites who profit from killing our planet are simply insane with greed. They place profit over everything, even survival. Nonetheless, when one reads articles like this, it will at least briefly make the reader think that maybe the elites are deliberately targeting pristine areas with the intent of killing everything on this planet for some as yet unknown reason, not including profit motive. After all, as the cliche states, "Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get you." People who care about the earth and the future of life on this planet need to rise up, act up, speak out, and take direct action until either our leaders come to their senses and stop this madness...or we come to our senses and get new leaders.

Fiona T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Please maintain the balance of our ecosystem

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola2 years ago

Interesting, thank you!

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright2 years ago

Greedy humans are at it once again........................

"As we hurtle towards poisoning our entire planet, arrogant human beings should remember we are a fellow animal and their fate is ours. Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught…only then will you find money cannot be eaten....."

Lynda Duke
Lynda Duke2 years ago

This is just more of the same news we had last week, that Brazil's president sold out the indigenious tribes, for oil....selling out the people everywhere. If ever you've seen the movie Dune, you would know that it was all about greed and control of specific resources and to hell with the people and wild life.

The governments are selling the people out! It needs to stop, before this planet is destroyed and there's nothing left.