South American swans decimated

Nov 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

Explore further: Greenland darkening to continue, predicts CCNY expert Marco Tedesco

Related Stories

3-D printing blossoms into powerful new tool for ecologists

3 hours ago

3D printing has been used to make everything from cars to medical implants. Now, ecologists are using the technology to make artificial flowers, which they say could revolutionise our understanding of plant-pollinator interactions. ...

Recommended for you

Devices or divisive: Mobile technology in the classroom

16 hours ago

Little is known about how new mobile technologies affect students' development of non-cognitive skills such as empathy, self-control, problem solving, and teamwork. Two Boston College researchers say it's ...

Forming school networks to educate 'the new mainstream'

22 hours ago

As immigration increases the number of non-English speaking "culturally and linguistically diverse" students, schools will need to band together in networks focused on the challenges of educating what has been called "the ...

Rare tidal movements expose Kimberley dinosaur tracks

22 hours ago

While audiences in Perth attend Walking with Dinosaurs this weekend palaeontologists working near Broome will be documenting the extinct vertebrates' extensive fossilised footsteps using laser scanning technology.

User comments : 0

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.