Our Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) featured in Washington Post

December 6, 2022

On December 6, 2022, the Washington Post published an article detailing intense illegal mountain-top mining in the supposedly protected national park of Yapacana in the Venezuelan Amazon. The authors, Samantha Schmidt, Ana Vanessa Herrero, and Janice Kai Chen, explain that Cerro Yapacana, revered as a sacred site by indigenous groups in this region of Venezuela and known as a tepui, or “house of God,” has in fact become the largest site of illegal gold mining in the northern Amazon, especially within an otherwise protected natural area.

Satellite image of illegal mining camps atop Cerro Yapacana in Venezuela
source: www.maaproject.org

Cerro Yapacana, a 4,415 sandstone butte, is home to wildlife species that are not found anywhere else in the world and are now in great danger thanks to the encroaching mining activity and the expansion of small city camps being constructed on the table-top of this uniquely biodiverse mountain.

Our team of GIS specialists and researchers with the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) have been monitoring this activity for quite some time and have published reports #156 and #169 covering this exact activity. The Washington Post reached out to our Director of MAAP, Dr. Matt Finer, for comments and expertise. Dr. Finer echoed the surprise at the “stunning density” of the camps and equipment saying that he has, “…never seen anything like it, especially in a national park.”

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Read the Washington Post article HERE