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Peru Signs Bill to Protect Huge Chunk of the Amazon

Lima, November 10 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Peru has turned a large portion of the Amazon basin into a national park in what will protect the biodiversity in the region from the exploitation of its natural resources and leave the Indigenous communities in the area untouched.

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala traveled to the eastern region on Sunday to sign the decree making it official parkland.

“We want to preserve this geographic area as an important part of the lungs that allow us to purify the air of the world and, moreover, to save it from illegal activities such as illegal logging, drug trafficking and other activities that deforest our jungles,” said President Humala after signing the decree.

According to the country's Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar, the region has been vulnerable to drug trafficking and illegal logging and mining. Creating it into a national park will create harsher penalties for illegal trade as well as drug trafficking inside the area.

The new Sierra del Divisor National Park, covers an area of some 14,170 square kilometers in the eastern part of Peru.
      
The park region has an estimated 3,000 species of plants and animals, many of them found nowhere else in the world, according to the Peruvian government. It is also inhabited by a variety of Indigenous communities living in self-imposed isolation.

According to the environment minister, maintaining the region as a protected area will enable the capture of 150,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of nearly 40 percent of Peru's daily carbon output.

According to local media reports, the government had delayed signing the act into law for several months, what many believe to be the influence of oil companies and the agricultural sector who had been eying the region. 
Edited by Ivan Martínez
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