Eduardo Franco Berton

Jaguar fangs: The Chinese connection in the Amazon MF

Eduardo Franco Berton’s passion for wildlife and nature has taken the Bolivian journalist/photographer to some of the most remote places in Latin America. He is now investigating the illegal trade in jaguar fangs in the Amazon, where poachers have killed hundreds of the endangered big cats to extract their fangs, a prized item in China for their supposed healthful and aphrodisiac properties. Eduardo's project is supported by a grant from EJN, the Earth Journalism Network. Now, with the help of Press Start donors, he can extend his cross-border investigation to determine the scale of the illegal jaguar hunting in Bolivia, Peru and Brazil and who benefits from it, culminating in a documentary film. Press Start will match all contributions made to his campaign, so your dollars will go twice as far.

FUNDED

raised $7,480 out of $3,873

Eduardo Franco is a Bolivian investigative journalist and photojournalist experienced in covering environmental, wildlife and indigenous issues.

 

“I believe and have experienced how good stories can reach people's hearts and move them to take positive action. Since my early childhood I’ve always been captivated by wildlife and environmental stories, and those were two of the main reasons why I became an environmental journalist,” he says.

 

For the past nine years, his passion for wildlife and stories has taken him on expeditions through some of the most remote places in Latin America to report about wildlife and indigenous communities, from the Amazon rainforest to the dry forests of the Great American Chaco.

 

“Through environmental journalism I am keen to tell stories that communicate what the natural world and people are experiencing, in an effort to demonstrate that it is among the beauty and fragility of nature where we connect with each other, as part of a great human family.”

 

His stories have contributed to influence policy makers and to change people’s mentality. In 2015, he covered a story about an endangered area of the Bolivian Amazon. His photo report and documentary film helped to inspire the local authorities to declare 1,300 hectares of an area that was under risk of deforestation, as a natural wildlife reserve.

 

Another of Eduardo’s investigations described life in a community where women and children have to walk up to eight kilometers daily, in order to collect water from the shore of the Rio Grande River in the Great Chaco of Bolivia. In January 2018, a Bolivian company and an NGO, moved by this story, compromised to solve the water crisis of this community by helping them with a project to drill a well for the provisioning of water.

 

As a documentary filmmaker, Franco has produced and directed three series of short films for Red Ambiental de Informacion (RAI), and the documentary film Guardians of the Forest. His work was shown at the International Film Festival of Bolivia in 2016 and 2017, and on social networks, reaching an audience of more than 200,000 viewers.

 

As an independent journalist in Bolivia, he has had to face challenges such as censorship by the Bolivian authorities.

 

“Environmental journalism is a very uncomfortable thing for politicians, public authorities and the national government, especially since there is a lot of damage being done by the government over the protection of forests, indigenous groups and wildlife,” he explains.

 

These conditions make it harder to publish environmental stories in the Bolivian media, and it also makes it difficult to obtain funding from national organizations.

 

“I see this as a challenge, and despite these difficulties, I always try to find a way to publish relevant environmental stories and tell the truth about what is happening in my region.”

Click here to see Eduardo Franco Berton's reporting proposal.

Coverage region: Bolivia

Reporting focus: Environment, development, photojournalism

Notable work or awards: Reports among the most read in 2016 and 2017 in Mongabay.

Fellowships to participate in the World Conference of Science Journalism (WCSJ) in San Francisco and the Global Investigative Journalism Conference (GIJN) in Johannesburg (2017).

Long walks for water in Bolivia’s Great Chaco

Hydropower threatens Bolivian indigenous groups and national park

 

Media:

Earth Journalism Network (EJN)

Mongabay

O Eco (Brazil)

VERD Magazine (Ecuador)

 

Previous work:

Conservationists rush to save Bolivian turtles threatened by egg trafficking

Rainforest rapidly cleared for sugarcane in Bolivia

Gold Rush in Bolivia sparks conflict between miners and the community

“Olhares selvagens”, um passeio pela biodiversidade amazônica

Primeros procesados por el tráfico de jaguares en Bolivia

 

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