Tuesday, July 03, 2007

gold mining vs. biodiversity in suriname

Many would be hard pressed to find Suriname on a world map. Surely, the estimated 12,000 working in illegal, wildcat gold mining in the isolated Amazonian rainforest of the northern South American nation would probably prefer to keep it that way.

A juvenile azure poison frog hops out of the mud, deep in the Amazonian rainforests of Suriname. Photograph by phrakt and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 License.

However, anonymity became more difficult last month.

Researchers from Conservation International put the country in the spotlight by presenting findings from a 2005 wildlife expedition and 2006 follow-up survey that underscored an incredible degree of biodiversity in Suriname's pristine hinterland.

Highlights from the expedition include the discovery of a gorgeous, lavender-patterned frog that has never before been seen by scientists, as well as the rediscovery of the dwarf suckermouth catfish (Harttiella crassicauda). The catfish was previously thought to have been driven to extinction a half century ago by mercury contamination from local gold mining.

All in all, the expedition documented 467 species, over twenty of which have been tagged as new species. It is believed that many other new species are still waiting to be found ...

Click here, for the full story at ethicaltraveler.org.

Dingobear (a.k.a. Felix) moonlights as a volunteer newswriter for Ethical Traveler, a project of the California-based Earth Island Institute.


  1. Hey dingobear-
    I read your article last week and thought I commented... especially as I'm ever fascinated by discoveries of new and beautiful species. Again, well done!

    For the record: I could place Suriname on a world map. It's right next to Tierra del Fuego, right? :)

  2. Thanks, -c!

    But ... Tierra del Fuego? Well, close enough. You get partial credit for being on the right continent. :)