Local July 12, 2017 | 1:45 pm

Traffickers lay siege on major National Park: report

Pedernales, Dominican Republic.- The area Aceitillar, within Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, is under a fog-like mantle after last Friday’s forest fire that charred hundreds of hectares of endemic pine and other varieties.

The fire which originated on the range’s southern slope is blamed on the fever unleashed by the search for Guaconejo, smuggled by Haitians and Dominicans into Haiti, from where it’s exported to countries like France to make perfume.

Listin Diario reports that the blaze has devastated an entire area began in several spots around 28 kilometers northeast of Pedernales on the road to Aceitillar, home to pine forests of the protected area, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

Environment officials and locals alike agree that the fire was set by Guaconejo traffickers, as reprisal for the authorities’ recent crackdown.

Charcoal makers also chop trees and traffic both into Haiti.

“Since (Environment) minister Domínguez Brito announced the next operations in Sierra de Bahoruco we have put a lot of effort to halt Guaconejo and charcoal trafficking at the border,” said Park administrator César Peralta.

He said hundreds of sacks of the endangered variety were seized and incinerated just this week, adding that a truck was impounded Monday, with its driver arrested and taken to local headquarters.

He added that the variety canelilla is also cut down in adjacent Jaragua National Park, which recently has become a lucrative business that harms the environment.

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