Gold mining has an impact on animals – level 3

10-08-2023 07:00

Scientists in Peru’s Los Amigos Biological Station are conducting research on Amazonian rodents to determine the impact of mercury contamination from illegal and poorly regulated gold mining on terrestrial mammals in the rainforest.

The researchers anesthetize the small-eared pygmy rice rat and collect hair samples for testing. Preliminary findings from their study indicate that mercury from mining is affecting mammals, including rodents, ocelots, and monkeys. This contamination poses risks to both wildlife and humans who may consume contaminated animals. The Amazon rainforest, rich in biodiversity, faces the threat of extinction due to habitat destruction.

Despite limited data, it’s suggested that mercury’s effects could lead to reproductive issues and population decline in animals. Efforts are being made to address illegal mining and its environmental consequences.

Difficult words: rodent (a rat, mouse, squirrel, and similar animal), pygmy (very small), biodiversity (variety of different plants and animals).

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What specific measures are being taken to address mercury contamination caused by illegal and poorly regulated gold mining in Peru’s Amazonian rainforest?


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