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  • 06 / 06 / 2007

Forest fire damaged Zapata Biosphere Reserve in Cuba
The catastrophe went on for almost two months and only ceased after several days of continued rainfall.

According to the local forest ranger department, the work of some 160 men with technical support every day since March 30 could not fully extinguish the fire, which also partially damaged 800 other hectares, PL News Agency reports.

Dry branches and fallen trees brought down by hurricane Dennis two years ago got the fire going. Experts agreed that it was started near a pond visited by poaching hunters and fishermen and was the consequence of a neglectful action in the first place.

Fortunately, the fire did not reach the east part of the wetlands, where there is the crocodile breeding center, the flower reserves, and some bird watch points, although the full impact on ecology has not yet being determined, commented CubAhora magazine.

The Zapata swamps have been declared a biosphere reserve and a natural park in Cuba. They are permanent habitat to three kinds of endemic jutias, all species of Cuban mammals and most reptiles.

Neglect in the first place and then climatic changes, are responsible for most fires in Cuba - disasters that amount to millions of dollars in losses every year. In 2006 alone, 180 forest fires were reported in Cuba.
Source: ACN

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