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Mexican environmental authority fines Mennonite community

July 23, 2018

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities have slapped a 10.3 million peso ($540,364) fine on a Mennonite community for clearing tropical vegetation that was home to a protected olive-throated parakeet.

The Attorney General for Environmental Protection said Monday that members of the community removed plants including endangered chit palm and jobillo trees from 3,251 acres (1,316 hectares) in Quintana Roo state, on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Indigenous Maya have long used the fronds of the chit palm to thatch rooves and make brooms, while fishermen have been known to construct lobster traps from its stems. The plant has become so scarce that Mexican law forbids removing the palms.

The jobillo is a flowering tree in the cashew family that is coveted for wood floors.

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