The environment and interior ministries in Peru have announced plans to set up a special task force to safeguard forests and monitor the rivers in the Amazon basin. The special force will be made up of around 3,000 officers to be known as the Environment Police.
The force will oversee 373,000 sq km of Amazon rainforest and patrol rivers to combat illegal logging and the unauthorised clearing of forest. Peru’s Environment Minister Antonio Brack said that until now the issue, “a problem of organized crime, morality and oversight,” has not been adequately addressed due to a severely understaffed police force running to just 240 men.
The Amazon rainforest covers almost a third of Peru and is highly prized by companies seeking to exploit the lax enforcement regime to harvest precious hard woods like mahogany. For many years, ecologists have voiced deep concern over the rapid depletion of Amazon biodiversity and say that, at the present rate of deforestation, the basin, home to an incredible array of flora and fauna (much yet to be discovered), could be harmed beyond repair in coming decades.
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