underthebanyan.wordpress.com

Will the bird that dodged a bullet pay the price of peace?

"Armed conflict is good for preventing deforestation."


The Blue-billed Curassow is a secretive bird that skulks in dark corners of moist forests, foraging for insects and fallen fruit, Mike Shanahan writes.

English zoologist Louis Fraser, encountering this turkey-sized bird in 1850, named it Crax alberti, after Queen Victoria's "illustrious consort, His Royal Highness Prince Albert." It lives only in Colombia's mountainous rain forests.

Less than 200 years later, between 150 and 700 Curassows remain. And this, Shanahan tells us, is where things get crazy.

Because while Colombia's 52-year civil war with the guerrilla movement FARC killed some 270,000 and displaced 7 million more, that violence "also protected large portions of the natural wealth that will be key to Colombia's future."

Shanahan is a ecologist by training (with a doctorate from the University of Leeds) who has spent years working in environmental justice and science. In 2016 he published "Gods, Wasps and Stranglers," a fascinating read about how figs have shaped our world, influence cultures and can help restore our forests.

His story of the Curassow is another good, but bitter, tale.

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
Valspar cans. (Credit Lynne Peeples)
Originals

Exposed: Toward a BPA-free future

This is part 4 of a 4-part investigation of the science surrounding the chemical BPA and the U.S. regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.

Keep reading... Show less
Originals

Clouded in Clarity: A comic on chemicals & controversy

Harmful chemicals are difficult to understand. So, to pair with our investigation, "Exposed" we present EHN's first comic, "Clouded in Clarity," which focuses on BPA and the controversy around an ongoing, massive study on it.

Keep reading... Show less
Originals

Exposed: How willful blindness keeps BPA on shelves and contaminating our bodies

We all are exposed daily to bisphenol-A (BPA) and other bisphenols – estrogen-like substances added to food can liners, paper receipts and plastic containers.

Keep reading... Show less
BPA testing in the lab of Cheryl Rosenfeld, a University of Missouri researcher. (Credit: Cheryl Rosenfeld)
Originals

Exposed: A scientific stalemate leaves our hormones and health at risk

This is part 1 of a 4-part investigation of the science surrounding the chemical BPA and the U.S. regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.

Keep reading... Show less
Researcher Pat Hunt at her Washington State University lab. (Credit: Lynne Peeples)
Originals

Exposed: On the edge of research honesty

This is part 2 of a 4-part investigation of the science surrounding the chemical BPA and the U.S. regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.

Keep reading... Show less
Researcher Pat Hunt with lab mice in her Washington State University lab. (Credit: Lynne Peeples)
Originals

Exposed: Deciphering the real message about BPA

This is part 3 of a 4-part investigation of the science surrounding the chemical BPA and the U.S. regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.

Keep reading... Show less
From our Newsroom

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.