South America

Can Tourists Save a Peruvian Rain Forest

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 8, 2004   View Article

Some of the largest tracts of pristine rain forest left in the world are found in the state of Madre de Dios in southeastern Peru. The region’s timber draws truckloads of migrant workers who come to cut its prized mahogany, an expensive hardwood in high demand overseas.

But one environmental education and research organization hopes to use tourism to help keep the rain forest there intact.

Alien Flies to Extinguish Alien Fire Ant Invasion?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 18, 2004   View Article

Importing aliens to attack invading aliens may sound like a plot for a science fiction movie, but scientists believe the scheme is the best way to combat Brazilian fire ants that have taken over the southern U.S.

The red imported fire ant (RIFA), scientifically known as Solenopsis invicta, first arrived on U.S. shores over 60 years ago as stowaways aboard cargo ships from South America. Since then they have spread throughout the South, out-competing the native fire ants in their paths.

African Slaves’ Plant Knowledge Vanishing in Brazil

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 6, 2004   View Article

When Angela Leony visited the town of Lençóis in northeastern Brazil 18 years ago, she was unable to conceive. Yearning for a child, she went to see Dona Senhorinha, an elder healer.

Senhorinha told Leony the problem might be solved by drinking tea made from Estradeira-vermelha, a native pea plant with a bright red flower known for its ability to start the menstrual cycle and facilitate pregnancy.

Dinosaur Discovered in Patagonia – Named “Small Head”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 5, 2004   View Article

Argentine paleontologists have discovered a 13-foot (4-meter) plant-eating dinosaur with a long neck and small head that roamed the southern tip of South America about 70 million years ago.

The team, led by Fernando Novas of the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences in Buenos Aires, named the dinosaur Talenkauen santacrucensis. Talenkauen means “small head” in the Aonikenk Indian language.

Dozens of Inca Mummies Discovered Buried in Peru

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 11, 2004   View Article

Dozens of exquisitely preserved Inca mummies are being recovered from a barren hillside on the outskirts of Peru’s bustling capital city, Lima. In a matter of months a highway will roar past the ancient cemetery.

“By now we have over 40 [mummy bundles] and the number increases every day,” said Guillermo Cock, a Lima-based archaeologist.

Unique Bolivia Park Begun by Indigenous People

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 13, 2004   View Article

The parched, southeastern corner of Bolivia is the unlikely home to a park that houses Latin America’s highest diversity of large mammals, and is the stage for an unusual story of protected-area creation and operation.

“The park remains the only national protected area in the Americas created as the result of an initiative by an indigenous organization,” said Michael Painter, Bolivia program director for the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which has helped manage the park since its creation in 1995.

Elusive Jaguars Remain a Mystery, Even to Experts

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 25, 2003   View Article

“Yaguara,” the South American Indian word for jaguar, literally means the animal that kills in a single bound.

The elusive, spotted-coat cats secretly stalk their prey until just the right moment. Then they pounce with a graceful thud: In one leap the cats must snap their prey’s spine or else go hungry.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach