South American swans decimated

November 22, 2005

The World Wildlife Federation says a recently opened pulp mill in Chile has devastated one of South America's most biologically outstanding wetlands.

"What was probably the largest population of black necked swans in South America has been wiped out in less than a year," said Clifton Curtis, director of World Wildlife Fund's Global Toxic Program. "It is an environmental catastrophe,"

The Carlos Anwandter Nature Sanctuary, covering more than 12,000 acres in southern Chile, was home to more than 100 species of rare, vulnerable, or in at least two cases, endangered species of birds.

"This was an area once teeming with water birds," said David Tecklin, a WWF ecoregion coordinator. "Now, within the space of just months, it has become an empty expanse of brown, polluted water."

The WWF affirmed earlier findings by Austral University of Chile that pulp waste from the plant owned by CELCO, Chile's largest timber conglomerate, is most likely responsible for the catastrophe.

"It was heart-rending. We talked to people in Valdivia who said they saw emaciated swans fall from the sky, landing on rooftops and cars," Curtis said. "They were so weak they were unable to carry their own weight."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Amazon deforestation leaps 16 percent in 2015

November 28, 2015

Illegal logging and clearing of Brazil's Amazon rainforest increased 16 percent in the last year, the government said, in a setback to the aim of stopping destruction of the world's greatest forest by 2030.

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.