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Arapaima – another reason to be concerned about the Brazilian forestry bill

May 22, 2012

This afternoon WWF, Greenpeace and key Brazilian organizations will be mounting a Twitter campaign to urge Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff to veto the Forest Code Approved by Congress in April. The bill has been condemned by WWF on three key grounds: a) millions of acres forest illegally cleared prior to 2008 will be legalized through amnesty, b) landowners could be allowed to reduce the obligatory required forest cover from 80% to 50%, and c) large areas of floodplains and other sensitive areas will be opened to cattle ranching and farming. Writing in the Guardian, John Vidal reports that critics of the bill say it could lead to the loss of 220,000 square kilometres of Amazonian rainforest, an area close to the combined size of the UK and France.

As our small contribution to the debate, today we added the fantastic Arapaimas to the BioFresh Cabinet of Freshwater Curiosities. Guest curator, Daniel Gurdak, profiles these ancient, armored freshwater giants that ply the rivers and floodplains of the Amazon. The Arapaima’s, riverine habitats are susceptible to forest clearance and this group of river giants remind us that future generations may judge today’s decision makers harshly if incredible life forms like this are lost from the Earth.

Arapaima sp. from Guyana. Image: D.J. Stewart[/caption]

More than 1.5 million people have already petitioned President Dilma and the number is expect to rise with this afternoon’s twitter campaign (#vetatudodilma #SOSBrazil) which is encouraging others to sign-up to the Avaaz petition

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