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The horror of third world markets This is one of the horrors of 3rd world markets. This is in Belen Peru (in the Amazon) Every morning this bustling market is loaded with protected and endangered animals being sold for food. the bustling village of Belen, a third world open air market in the city of Iquitos, Peru (an isolated jungle-locked city of 600,000 known as the gateway of the Amazon). Belen was once coined the Venice of Peru, yet it is really a depressed jungle slum with a Wild West mentality. A tight slummy corridor of tables piled with dead fish, deer, monkeys, giant turtles and bush meat killed during the night for food. Black vultures leer from tin roofs inches overhead, while live monkeys, macaws, baby caimans, and sloths are crudely leashed to tables or piled into buckets to feed the Amazon's illegal smuggling trade. An animal purchased here for $10.00 will fetch $5,000.00 in the US. Off in a darker side alley is the Shamans market. Flimsy tables stacked with ritual animal parts such as viper heads, harpy eagle talons, jaguar, pink dolphin and monkey skulls. Giant anaconda skins line shelves of bottles full of homemade holistic concoctions and witches brew. Piles of Ayahuasca (a highly hallucinogenic vine) litter the alley's floor. One of the many things that make the Amazon so unique and vital to protect is that it is a force that affects everyone on earth. It is the lungs of the planet, providing 20% of our fresh air. It's the earth's pharmacy, 70% of plants found to have anticancer properties are found only in the rainforest, yet less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists. It is also the earth's air conditioner. Containing nearly 40,000 plant species, the Amazon sustains the world's richest diversity of birds, freshwater fish and butterflies. One of the world's last refuges for jaguars, harpy eagles and pink dolphins, its thousands of tree species are home to southern two-toed sloths, pygmy marmosets, saddleback and emperor tamarins and Goeldi's monkeys. Amazon river contains more species of fish then the Atlantic ocean. If Amazonia were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world. It covers over a billion acres, encompassing areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and the Eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru. There may be fifty or so Amazon tribes living in the depths of the Amazon rainforest that have never had contact with the outside world. More than 350 indigenous and ethnic groups have lived in the Amazon for thousands of years, tapping nature for agriculture, clothing and traditional medicines.
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