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‘Damage is irreversible’: More than 2 million wild animals die in Bolivia wildfires

Like in Brazil, many of the fires in Bolivia have been set intentionally by farmers and ranchers pushing for the expansion of cattle ranching and soy farming in forested regions.

RACHAEL D’AMORE: ‘More than two million wild animals have been consumed by record-breaking wildfires in Bolivia, leaving experts to fear “irreversible” damage. Sandra Quiroga, of Santa Cruz University in Bolivia, said that biologists investigating the fire-devastated tropical savanna fear the number of animals missing or killed may exceed 2.3 million.

Researchers are on the ground trying to determine the scope of the damage. They claim animal species of all kinds have perished in the fires…Wild cats like ocelots and jaguars, as well as deer and llamas, are among the victims. Smaller forest animals like rodents, lizards and anteaters have also died.

Images from affected towns and forests show animal carcasses lying charred in swathes of burned-out forests. “The forest is totally charred and the damage is irreversible,” Quiroga said. This year’s burn has already topped the previous record — 3.8 million hectares in 2010. While it’s common for farmers and ranchers to start fires to clear land, activists claim government measures surrounding agriculture have exacerbated the fires.

A recent order has fuelled the expansion of cattle ranching and soy farming in forested regions, ultimately making the burn practice more risky… In Brazil, which neighbours Bolivia, the Amazon is still battling its own war with fire. In Brazil alone, more than 2,400 miles of the Amazon has been deforested this year… Like in Bolivia, many of the fires have been set intentionally by farmers and ranchers as Brazil’s president and government pushes for agricultural expansion’SOURCE…

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