Ibera National Park in Argentina is famous for its biodiversity and wetland. But a two-and-a-half year drought has left it so dry that it has flared up widely since the start of 2022. About half of the park is now burned, according to ecologist Sebastian de Martino of Rebuild Argentina, Like the Mongabay reports.. The protected area was established in 2018 and is one of the most species-rich in Argentina.
The majority of the fires can be traced back to the ranchers, only some of the fires were caused by lightning. Di Martino says farmers regularly set fires on their pastures to encourage fresh grass to grow, but small farms in particular lack the experience and technology to control or contain the resulting fires. In dry vegetation, they quickly become uncontrollable and spread.
Fires are part of the natural cycle of nature in Iberia. However, they are usually restricted to smaller areas because natural fire barriers such as swamps, streams, or small lakes prevent them. However, these are missing due to the constant dehydration. Forest areas of Iberia were also damaged, which were burning less frequently and would therefore recover more slowly from the damage.
According to De Martino, reintroduction projects being run in the national park have also been affected. Hunted to extinction and long gone, ecologists reintroduced scarlet parrots, giant otters, jaguars, and anteaters. In the meantime, some of these animals have been re-captured or individuals who were due to be released have been moved to safety so as not to jeopardize the projects. Others were less fortunate: the guards discovered several dead caimans, capybaras or armadillos that did not escape the fire.
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