Yasuni ITT, the Amazon for a Fistful of Dollars

Yasuni National Park
Yasuni National Park is considered the most biologically rich land, but it is not just home to thousands of species of plants and animals, but also a few billion barrels of oil. Until now it seemed that its territories would have a chance to survive the fossil fuel era untouched, without machines drilling one of the most valuable areas of the Amazon. The government of Ecuador had launched an international campaign demanding half the money they would get from the sale of the subsurface oil reserves in exchange for leaving it intact.

However, it was recently announced that, after having raised only about $13 million planned instead of $3,600, on behalf of the fight against poverty and misery, the project has been canceled and the oil companies have the door wide open to exploit the fields of Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT).

Little by little we are getting used to understanding that in the real world, unlike in the movies, the bad guys always win. Let's see what is the real treasure in this UNESCO biosphere reserve:

The great diversity of life in this corner of the vast Amazon, is partly explained by the proximity to a very different environment such as the Andes and high mountain climate. Also during the last ice age, temperatures dropped across the planet, but the Yasuni area didn't change and species rapidly concentrated here, where there was still forest. Images by courtesy of Yasuní-ITT

Napo Yasuni
On the top of it, what makes the park more complex is the range of habitats from the hills that never get flooded by the rivers, to the lowlands almost permanently under water. Image Yasuní-ITT

Amazon transparent Butterflies
Today we find the landscapes looking closely at some of the thousands of unique creatures that live here.
Image Geoff Gallice

Colorful Insect in Ecuador
According to Wikipedia, in the park there are more different animal species in one hectare than in all of Europe.
Image Andy

Yasuni Park
Animals and plants yet to be studied, a priceless source of knowledge for science.
Image Geoff Gallice

Insect camouflaged
In this competitive environment, you can camouflage yourself to go unnoticed, like this grasshopper disguised as chewed leaf. Image Geoff Gallice

Insect disguised as green leaf
Or you can change your look as this spider-flower does, to lure your prey.
Image Geoff Gallice

Yasuni ITT Initiative
Those responsible for the Yasuni-ITT Initiative, used to talk about more than 45,000 insect species cataloged to date.
Image Geoff Gallice

Monkey jumping from a tree
There are more than 630 species of birds and 169 of mammals, including its most emblematic residents: black panthers, pumas and jaguars. Image Joshua Bousel

Green snake
More numbers: 121 species of reptiles and 141 of amphibians, including rare freshwater species.
Image Geoff Gallice

Insect-catcher in a huge tree
There are trees up to 40 meters, and some of its roots are taller than a person.
Image Geoff Gallice

Turtle and butterfly
Ecuador's economy is based on oil and it was announced that only 0.1% of the park will be razed by the bulldozers.
Image Geoff Gallice

Yellow Butterflyes
But the opening of roads that cut the jungle in two and that provide access to outsiders, may be more harmful than the drillings themselves. Image Geoff Gallice

Lost World Amazon jungle
Rather than the surveillance or the activism, what is keeping these places safe are their remote and inaccessible locations. Image Jean-François Renaud

Waterfall Yasuni
But as a Brazilian friend once told me, "you can not wait for my country to be the nun of the brothel", to explain that states with natural resources also have the right to get rich exploiting its resources, as they did before the nations of the first world. Image Yasuní-ITT

Huaorani Tribe
The ones that will be hit the hardest are the native tribes, as the Huaorani.
Image Yasuni Waorani

Isolated Tribe
In Yasuni are still living two clans of indigenous people that went into the jungle in the seventies to isolate voluntarily.
Image Yasuní-ITT

Yasuni Initiative
Nice poster from the Yasuni Initiative that will stay as an example of what could have been...

Yasuni oil
... and what lies ahead.
Image Rastros de luz

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