September 11, 2009
Single road changes life in national park
Hunters are emptying Ecuador's Yasuni National Park of wildlife via a single road built by oil companies, scientists say.
Communities existing inside and around the park are changing their customs to a lifestyle of commercial hunting, said Esteban Suarez, lead author of a Wildlife Conservation Society study.
The commercial wild meat market emerged shortly after the oil company Maxus Ecuador built the 92-mile road in 1992, said anthropologist Avecita Chicchon, a conservation society director.
The road's existence encouraged members of the Waorani tribe to abandon their semi-nomadic lifestyle, Chicchon said. Today, three Waorani communities live along the road and use firearms to kill animals rather than blowguns and other traditional weapons, Chicchon said.