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The Andean Condor is in Trouble. The Reasons are Known, and Preventable

800px-Andean_Condor_in_full_flight
(wer-al zwowe)

BY SIMEON TEGEL / GlobalPost

LIMA, Peru — Another day, another endangered species, or so it seems.

The Andean condor could be next. The iconic giant scavenger is a national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, but it is disappearing in parts of the region. 

According to the Red List of Threatened Species, the conservationists’ bible, there are an estimated 10,000 of the birds left in the wild.

Yet things are not as simple as that.

“The problem is no one really knows,” says Robert Wallace, who heads the Wildlife Conservation Society’s operations in Bolivia.

“It is very hard with animals that cover such large distances and inhabit such inaccessible terrain. The condors you see in one place today and 300 miles away tomorrow could easily be the same animals.”

What is known is that populations in Argentina and Chile, mainly Patagonia, are relatively healthy, while there are thought to be just a handful left in Ecuador and Colombia. Venezuela probably now has no resident condors left.

In Peru, one forthcoming study puts the minimum number at just 250. Meanwhile, Jessica Galvez-Durand, head of sustainable wildlife management for the Peruvian government, says that there are “fewer than 2,500.”

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Incredible Time-Lapse Shots of Chile's Calbuco Volcano Reveal Earth's Awesome Power: WATCH

Calbuco

Calbuco, the Chilean volcano which erupted violently twice this week for the first time in 40 years, spewed out a plume of ash more than six miles high and blanketed parts of Chile and Argentina. More than 4,000 have been evacuated but thankfully no deaths or injuries have been reported.

Rodrigo Barrera, a photographer, has captured several incredible time-lapse videos of the event over several days, as well as the clouds of ash that have covered the sky.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chilean President Signs Bill Legalizing Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

BacheletChilean President Michelle Bachelet has signed a bill into law legalizing same-sex civil unions, the Washington Blade reports:

“The civil union law is a vindication in the struggle for sexual diversity rights,” said Bachelet during the signing ceremony that took place at the Presidential Palace in Santiago, the Chilean capital. 

The Blade notes that Bachelet publicly supports marriage rights for gay couples and that her government recently announced it would no longer defend the country's ban on same-sex marriage in court. 

 


Chilean Government Will Not Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The Chilean government has announced it will not defend its ban on same-sex marriage following a lawsuit brought against the state by marriage equality advocates and presented to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, The Washington Blade reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07e4a0d6970d-150wi (2)Members of President Michelle Bachelet’s administration on Tuesday met with representatives of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, an LGBT advocacy group, in Santiago, the Chilean capital, to finalize “an amicable settlement” in the case filed in 2012 on behalf of three same-sex couples who are seeking marriage rights in the South American country.

The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in a press release it posted to its website said the government’s decision to end opposition to nuptials for gays and lesbians in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights case is part of a broader agreement that includes the introduction of a same-sex marriage bill in the Chilean Congress.

“We left the meeting very satisfied,” said the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation.“We appreciate the government’s good disposition towards our proposals and principles, which stress that marriage equality is a human rights issue.” 

Last month, Chile's Senate passed a bill that would allow same-sex couples in Chile to enter into same-sex unions. President Bachelet has said she will sign that bill. Still, advocates for full marriage equality vow to continue their fight despite this new legislation:

It remains unclear when the Bachelet administration and the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation will formally introduce the same-sex marriage bill in the Chilean Congress.

[Hunter T. Carter, a New York-based lawyer who represents the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in the Inter-American Court on Human Rights case] told the Blade the lawsuit before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will move forward in spite of the Chilean government’s new position.

“We’re going to continue the fight,” he said. “We are not going to drop the case until marriage is enacted in Chile.”


Tribute To Gay Chilean Writer Pedro Lemebel Who Died Last Friday

Lemebel

The Chilean LGBT community lost an icon last Friday with the death of Pedro Lemebel. 

A writer, activist, and provocateur, Lemebel was referred to as "a fighter for social justice and defender of freedom,” by the president of Chile herself, Michelle Bachelet. Our very own Garth Greenwell has written a tribute in The New Yorker to the late writer, describing the accomplishments of a man that many of us may have never known about:

Lemebel defined himself against establishments of all kinds: against Pinochet’s military dictatorship, but also against the Marxist resistance that condemned homosexuality as a bourgeois vice; against the neoliberal consensus behind Chile’s “economic miracle,” but also against the L.G.B.T. activists who Lemebel believed were making commodities of queer suffering and queer lives.

A crowd of hundreds gathered for his funeral in Santiago last Saturday. He died of laryngeal cancer. 

Few of Lemebel's works have been translated into English, but if you would like to experience the author's works his 2001 novel My Tender Matador is one of those that made it stateside and can be found on iBooks, Amazon, and Google Play for about $8-10.

Read Greenwell's tribute here


Chilean Senate Approves Civil Unions in 25-6 Vote; President Has Promised to Sign

Same-sex civil unions are set to become the law in Chile after the Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill passed by the House last week that President Michelle Bachelet (pictured) has said she will sign, the Washington Blade reports:

BacheletThe Chilean Senate approved the measure by a 25-6 vote margin with three abstentions. The bill passed in the country’s House of Representatives by a 78-9 vote margin.

“A historic step against discrimination and for the advancement of human rights has taken place today with the passage of the civil unions bill,” said the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, in a statement.

AFP adds:

The law, which has been in the works for four years, gives legal recognition to unmarried couples and ensures their rights to receive pensions, enroll in health plans and inherit property from one another.

It also gives them greater standing in child custody cases.


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