Colombia | Cattle ranching causing deforestation in La Paya NP
La Paya National Park sits on the edge of the Amazon rainforest along southern Colombia’s border with Ecuador and Peru. It comprises more than 4,200 square kilometers (1,620 square miles) and forms a green oasis in the largely denuded landscape that surrounds it to the west and north. Within La Paya live manatees, river dolphins, wooly monkeys, giant anteaters and many other Amazonian animals.
But while La Paya’s inclusion in the country’s most stringent land protection category has afforded it comparative protection, its forests are still being lost to human encroachment. A recent analysis finds high levels of deforestation within and around the national park, and researchers say cattle ranching is largely to blame for the intrusion.