In a Colombian wetland, oil woes deepen with the arrival of fracking

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This story is a journalistic collaboration between Semana Sostenible of Colombia and Mongabay Latam. Eugenio Chacón scans the colorful branches of the trees with his strong, sharp gaze. The 58-year-old fisherman knows for sure that at some point along the way they will appear. Suddenly he raises his right hand and waves it up and down. Cristo Carrascal, his traveling companion, quickly turns off the engine while Chacón stands up and begins to guide the boat toward the shore with a long wooden pole. “They are there,” he said. “Can you see them?” “They” are two small white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) moving between the tops of two bushes. With the same emotion, Chacón points out the great variety of birds soaring across the skies of the Llanito wetlands, located in the Colombian city of Barrancabermeja. But Chacón’s enthusiasm fades as he approaches the shore. As he disembarks, after more than an hour’s journey through the murky waters of the wetlands, he says that sedimentation and pollution are destroying this strategic ecosystem. A century of oil extraction   Jairo Puentes, a chemical engineer and oil specialist, says the wetlands act as natural water filters, regulating local temperatures and providing habitat for animal species, which, in turn, help keep the ecosystem in balance. Waterfowl in the Llanito wetlands. Image by Pilar Mejía/Semana. “Llanito is a reservoir without a flowing current which depends on the Sogamoso River [main tributary] to renew its water and redistribute waste products,” he says. “In addition, it…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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