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Story Publication logo September 3, 2020

Lilia: To Defend the Amazon's Aquatic Animals Is to Defend the World (Spanish)

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José Gregorio, leader of the Guardia Indígena Ambiental (Indigenous Environmental Guard), poses for a portrait. The photo shows a logo on the front of his shirt representing his organization, which protects the Amazon forest surrounding the Amacuyaco River. Image by Pablo Albarenga. Colombia, 2020.
English

In the heart of a dark triangle in the deep rainforest lie three border towns: Leticia (Colombia)...

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Lilia is a Tikuna Indigenous woman in the Colombian Amazon. She is dedicated to protecting the life that populates the rivers. These animals are sacred and critical for maintaining the balance of life—but they are being affected by industrial activity and climate change, putting at additional risk the subsistence of local fishing communities. Pablo Albarenga. Colombia, 2020.
Lilia is a Tikuna Indigenous woman in the Colombian Amazon. She is dedicated to protecting the life that populates the rivers. These animals are sacred and critical for maintaining the balance of life—but they are being affected by industrial activity and climate change, putting at additional risk the subsistence of local fishing communities. Pablo Albarenga. Colombia, 2020.

The upper Amazon, at the border of Colombia, Perú, and Brazil is exuberant, with some elements static. It exudes an apparent harmony, although it hides various tensions in its tranquility. Here, where the Amazon's tributaries meander while loaded with life, and where biodiversity flows with the movement of the river's slow waters, swims the pink Amazonian dolphin. Since ancient times, this aquatic mammal has held a sacred place in Indigenous cosmologies, as it does in many corners of the immense Amazon basin.

The pink dolphin is also sacred for Lilia Isolina Java Tapayuri, community leader of the Cocama ethnic group in the Tikuna-Cocama-Yagua reservation. The dolphin plays a central role in her life and professional career, leading her to play an important role today in the conservation of the river fauna in this part of the Amazon.

To view the full version of this story in Spanish, click here for El Pais and here for Semana.

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