Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

The great Pantanal--the world's largest wetlands, located in South America--is running a grave risk, warns the World Wildlife Fund (wwf). It would fall victim to a gradual process of desertification if the proposed Hidrovia Waterways project is allowed to come up.

The US $1.3 billion project would join the Parana and Paraguay rivers to create a 3,200 km water link and provide greater access to the Atlantic Ocean for Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. But it would also require massive dredging for more than 10 years, building dikes and correcting curves in the river.

And this would destroy the ecosystems of the South American swampland, which provides habitat for such exotic creatures like anteaters, caymans, and rare hyacinth macaws. The region also holds 650 species of birds, 240 varieties of fish and more than 90,000 types of plants.

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