Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

The Belize government has given a nod to the construction of the controversial Chalillo Dam. The massive hydroelectric dam in a jungle valley has invited the ire of environmentalists as it would destroy some of the richest rainforest habitat in the country. The Chalillo Dam is expected to inundate 1,100 hectare of pristine forests and flood one of the only known nesting areas for the Belize scarlet macaw, which is on the brink of extinction.

Recently, the Belize National Environmental Appraisal Committee announced that it was satisfied that the benefits of the dam project outweighed its environmental costs. However, biologist Sharon Matola, director of the Belize Zoo, says, "The dam project will destroy river valley ecosystems that are the country's most productive wildlife factory."

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