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Friday video: Mariposas Monarchas

7 December 2007

MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican authorities say they have confiscated more than 6,000 tons of logs and boards in the country’s biggest anti-logging raid ever.

And they did it to protect butterflies.

Authorities are trying to sweep illicit loggers out of a nature reserve that’s home to millions of Monarch butterflies.

Deforestation in and around the reserve threatens the butterflies, which rely on forest cover to protect them from cold winds.

About 700 Mexican police and environmental officers raided 19 clandestine saw mills this week.

Authorities seized the equivalent of more than 600 heavy truckloads of wood that had been cut within the Monarch butterfly reserve. And they arrested more than 50 people, including sawmill employees, lumberjacks and truck drivers.

This is a police raid I support (700 cops on an environmental protection operation? So much for the idea that Mexico doesn’t take the environment seriously!). While everyone likes butterflies and eco-tourism has become integral to the Michoacan economy (if you look at the back of the 50-peso note, which features scenes from Michaoacan, you’ll find mariposas monarchas fluttering around), clandestine logging is probably a more serious long-term threat to Mexico than narcotics dealers. We don’t hear much about it, but logging gangs kill people too — and for the same reason: there’s money to be made).

Forest protection (Mexico hopes to plant a billion trees over the next six years — even if it doesn’t meet the goal, that’s still a lot more trees) is vital for Mexico’s survival. It’s not just the butterflies (and the tourists who come to see the migrating insects in their winter home), but watersheds, land conservation and air quality that the forests protect. And, if it takes 700 armed coppers to stop illegal loggers, it’s an investment in the future. If the Mexican government was using the “Plan Merida” funding to fight this real threat to their own survival, I might be less opposed to it.

This video was made in Valle de Bravo by JGrillo310:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 December 2007 9:30 pm

    I tagged you for 7 factoids.

  2. 16 December 2007 8:29 pm

    Calderón just passed through the butterfly reserve late last month. Funny how there’s now a sudden crackdown after years of nothing.

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