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Venezuela’s hungry hunt wildlife, zoo animals, as economic crisis grows

21 / 05 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

Empty food shelves in Venezuela have left people hungry and in search of food wherever they can find it, which sometimes includes zoos and wildlife areas. Image found on flckr LAKE MARACAIBO, Venezuela — The wildlife of Venezuela, one of 17 countries that account for 70 percent of the world’s biodiversity, has come under new pressure in addition to deforestation, toxic oil spills and illegal trafficking: human starvation. The economic crisis that began in 2014 with the collapse of the nation’s oil revenues, has now deepened to the point that Venezuela is considered a failed state by some analysts. Poverty currently holds more than 80 percent of the population in its grip, according to studies by four Venezuelan universities. Many critics place responsibility for the nation’s financial woes on Nicolás Maduro, who won a second term as president on Sunday, amidst international accusations of election fraud, and concerns that Venezuela’s inflation will “hit a stunning 13,000 percent this year. Stores are empty and people sift through garbage for scraps. Many people call the country’s malnutrition the ‘Maduro diet,’ laying blame for the gaunt figures that are common sights now [in the streets] on Mr. Maduro,” reports the New York Times Although the national government officially denies the severity of the humanitarian emergency here, public services, agricultural productivity and even the commercial transportation network have deteriorated — and as a consequence, so has access to food. As a result, people are feeding themselves wherever, and on whatever, they can. That has…

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