25 April 2012.- Explorer Alcides d'Orbigny called it the most beautiful jungle in the world. The TIPNIS is the Isiboro Secure National Park and Protected Native Community Lands covering portions of both Cochabamba and Beni. This region, doubly protected under the Bolivian constitution and environmental laws, is under threat due to a proposed road that would cut straight through it, joining the Chapare region of Cochabamba (Bolivia's primary coca growing region) with a small town in the state of Beni called San Ignacio de Moxos.
Natives of the TIPNIS claim the road will destroy their way of life and open their protected area and the national park to destruction by coca growers and other types of colonists. The Bolivian government claims the road is necessary for Bolivia's development. Brazil is funding the construction of this road.
Under Bolivia's constitution, the government must consult and obtain the approval of native groups before initiating any activities on their land. This approval has not been given but the Bolivian government has already begun construction of the road. The TIPNIS natives began a 400-mile march to La Paz in protest but on September 26, 2011 were brutally repressed by a contingency of about 500 police officers. President Morales has taken no responsibility, but following strikes and protests in all major cities, suspended the road pending a referendum vote to be help between the two regions involved.
Now, the TIPNIS natives, their association of indigenous communities the CIDOB, and other indigenous groups that support them are preparing to begin a 9th march against the construction of this road, which has greatly divided communities between those who support the road and the development they believe it will bring to this remote region, and those who do not support it and believe it will result in the destruction of this fragile natural area.
Bolivia is one of the planet's 10 top mega-diverse regions with oer 20,000 species of flora and fauna. The TIPNIS is home to many of these species including 127 species of insects, 108 species of mammals, 470 bird species, 39 species of reptiles, 53 species of amphibians, and 188 fish species. Over 600 plant species have been identified and recorded, but an estimated 2500-3000 additional species of flora have not yet been classified. The TIPNIS is also home to numerous native indigenous groups including the Moxeños, the Yurakaré, and the Chimanes. Read more about Bolivia's beautiful Isiboro Secure National Park (TIPNIS