Return thousands of alligators to their habitat in Bolivia

Bolivian authorities released into the wild about 1,900 alligators living in captivity since April.

The alligators of the Yacaré species returned to a pond in El Pantanal, 1,100 kilometers east of La Paz on the border with Brazil, where they had been hunted by human traffickers, according to the Ministry of Environment of the government of Santa Cruz.

In April the police detained two trucks with dozens of boxes carrying 5,000 newborn baby alligators and over 500 animal skins. They were bred at a local nursery but 60% died from various causes, said the Minister of Environment and Water José Antonio Zamora, who headed the operation of reinsertion.

Experts had advised quarantine before returning the animals to their habitat to avoid contagious to the native population, but authorities indicated that health checks were performed. The case did not progress in justice. There are no arrested for smuggling and the criminal investigation stalled in the court.

El Pantanal is a vast marsh covering 220,000 square kilometers territory of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia and is one of the richest ecosystems in the world in biodiversity of flora and fauna.

The indiscriminate hunting of wild animals forced the Bolivian government to impose an indefinite ban in 1990 that in the case of the alligator was partially raised after finding a recovery of the native population.
Currently indigenous people benefit from commercial hunting that is regulated but are frequently reported traffic due to weak controls according officials and experts.

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