Seems Belem, Brazil, has a reptile problem. We're not talking about lawyers and politicians either, though these reptiles also slither on their bellies. These are the legless snakes who cannot speak with their forked tongues. And the Belemites are worried their city on a level plain at the mouth of the Amazon is becoming Snake City.
There's an explanation, of course. Not some Hollywood low budget scare flick. It's rampant deforestation of the Amazon Basin by...the Brazilians themselves. Seems deforestation is destroying the snakes' natural habitat and food source. Like displaced country residents the world over, Amazonian snakes head to the city. And we all know how many consumable rats roam the streets of any densely populated place on the planet, some with four legs. That's sure to attract any hungry snake.
Meanwhile the Brazilianh government looks like it's cracking down on illegal logging and jungle clearing. Fines have just been doubled. Greenpeace says it's more of a smokescreen, that the Brazilian authorities have no real idea what's going on, or who's doing what in the Amazin Basin. Seems the dense cloud cover render satellite images less than reliable.
Deforestation has been rampant in Brazil for decades: cattle ranching, sugar cane, simply using the lumber for construction. Money talks and the forest falls. Sugar is now being used to produce ethanol biofuel in Brazil. Brazil's sugar-based ethanol exports are expected to rise this year. And who's buying? Why we Americans and our eco-conscious pals in Europe, of course. Once again we get wealthy nations subsidizing less wealthy nations to destroy their local environment for cash. Gotta love this global market idea. Maybe they can start exporting McSnake Burgers?