Thursday, June 21, 2007

'Protect Bastimentos Island'

The Center for Biological Diversity has launched a campaign to protect Panama's Red Frog Beach and Bastimentos Island:
Bastimentos Island...shines as an ecological and cultural gem rich with coral reefs, dense tropical rainforests and indigenous communities. Among the diverse wildlife species of Bastimentos are night monkeys, three-toed sloths, numerous tropical bird and fish species as well as two distinct color variants of the strawberry poison dart frog -- the namesake of the fabled Red Frog Beach. The island [is] also critical breeding habitat for endangered leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles.

However, because of a massive, U.S.-fueled luxury-development boom, Bastimentos Island's sensitive marine and terrestrial habitats are under siege due to the construction of...a high-end tourist resort.

Red Frog Beach Club, an American-based development corporation, is currently constructing phase one of its development plan...And the company is seeking approval from ANAM, Panama's national environmental agency, to begin construction on phase two of its massive, proposed residential resort, which would include up to 800 additional living units, luxury hotel facilities, and a large marina. Such extensive development would profoundly affect Bastimentos' delicate rainforest, beach and coral-reef habitats and jeopardize the cultural heritage of the island's indigenous peoples, who have consistently voiced their opposition to the Red Frog Beach Club project through direct protests and petitions.
CBD's take action page is here, with more on "what's at stake" here.

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