the Latin American Turn Nature protection in the Western Hemisphere

in Nature's Ghosts

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226038148
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226038155 | DOI:
the Latin American Turn Nature protection in the Western Hemisphere

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In 1920, the ornithologist Alexander Wetmore left Washington, D.C., for an extended ornithological reconnaissance of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. His trip came after the U.S. Senate had passed an unusual resolution calling for a treaty to protect North American birds that spent part of the year below the Rio Grande. A thirty-two-year-old assistant biologist with the Bureau of the Biological Survey, Wetmore was a logical choice not only to assess the current status of migratory birds in that region of the world but also to gage the prospects for an international agreement aimed at safeguarding them. Wetmore later became the foremost expert on Central and South American birds and one of the forces pushing the American Committee for International Wild Life Protection to become more involved with wildlife conservation in Latin America. The first inkling of the American Committee's turn toward Latin American conservation revolved around the Galápagos Islands, where high rates of endemism and vulnerability were evident. The American Committee recognized the importance of a more international approach to the problem of extinction.

Keywords: extinction; conservation; wildlife; Latin America; Alexander Wetmore; treaty; migratory birds; Galápagos Islands

Chapter.  13745 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History

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