Iguacu Falls

June 2001

Government closes illegal park-degrading road

In June 2001, responding to pressure from BioGems Defenders, the Brazilian government closed an illegal road through the Iguacu Falls National Park, a 460,000-acre rainforest on Brazil's southern border known worldwide for its stunning waterfalls. The park's lush lowlands are a critical shelter for large mammals and birds, including the giant otter and the giant anteater, that likely could not survive without the park's protection. The Colono Road had exposed the park to increasing development and population pressures, as well as the threat of deforestation. Although the Brazilian courts had declared the road illegal, government officials lacked the political will to shut it down until they received thousands of messages from BioGems Defenders.