Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Costa Rica's crocodiles contaminated by banana farm chemicals

Yellow peril: Are banana farms contaminating Costa Rica's crocs?
September 2013. Shoppers spend over £10 billion on bananas annually and now this demand is being linked to the contamination of Central America's crocodilians. New research analyses blood samples from spectacled caiman in Costa Rica and finds that intensive pesticide use in plantations leads to contaminated species in protected conservation areas.

1.8 million tonnes of bananas every year
"Banana plantations are big business in Costa Rica, which exports an estimated 1.8 million tonnes per year; 10% of the global total," said author Paul Grant from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. "The climate of the country's North East is ideal for bananas; however, the Rio Suerte, which flows through this major banana producing area, drains into the Tortuguero Conservation Area."

Tortuguero Conservation Area & Spectacled caiman
Tortuguero is home to the Spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus), one of the most common species of crocodilian in Central America. This freshwater predator is known to be highly adaptive, feeding on fish, crustaceans and in the case of larger specimens, wild pigs.

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