Chaotic growth of San Cristóbal de las Casas threatens hummingbird habitat

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Irregular real estate speculation has led to urban sprawl in the vicinity of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, and the Mexican government has failed to enforce the law to protect natural resources, indicates a petition for a citizen investigation filed with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

On January 11, an American presented the petition, in which he asserts that in San Cristóbal de las Casas there is “an integral ecocide, due to negligence and disinterest in the good design of the urban expansion of this small city. The first potential victims are the millions of hummingbirds that migrate from the United States and Canada each year.

Rural areas of San Cristóbal are habitats for the ruby-throated hummingbird, as well as purple-eared, black-chinned, emerald-breasted, and other varieties, including dozens of other endemic and migratory bird species, particularly the endangered bluish mutiny.

The document warns that “the destruction of these habitats threatens with extinction this incredible tiny bird, as well as any other migratory and endemic birds that depend on what remains of this forest for their survival during their individual migrations.”

It maintains that the forests are in danger of “total destruction due to irregular and unregulated urbanizations in conservation areas,” for which lawsuits have been filed for the past five years. He pointed out that there are at least four projects that would be in an irregular condition: Santa María las Rocas, Peña Xulem, El Santuario and hotels in Bosques del Sur.

The CEC summarized that the petitioner affirms that the Mexican authorities fail to observe the provisions contained in the Constitution and numerous federal laws aimed to evaluate environmental impacts, the conservation of forest resources, and the protection of the environment.

He pointed out that, according to the applicant, the irregularities observed in housing and urban development projects in a conservation area pose a threat to the habitat and survival of these avian species. The CEC secretariat will examine the petition within 30 days and determine if it meets the requirements set forth in its regulations to proceed with the investigation.

Source: La Jornada