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Tourists flock to Peru's 'Rainbow Mountain'Tourists gasp for breath as they climb for two hours to a peak in the Peruvian Andes that stands 5,000 meters above sea level. It's only within the last five years that the natural wonder has been discovered by the outside world, earning it must-see status on Peru's burgeoning backpacker tourist circuit.Environmentalists, however, fear the tourists could destroy the treasured landscape, which is already coveted by international mining companies."From the ecological point of view they are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs," said Dina Farfan, a Peruvian biologist who has studied threatened wildlife in the area just a few hours from the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu.As proof, he points to a 4-kilometer dirt trail climbed by tourists to reach Rainbow Mountain that has been badly eroded in the last 18 months, scarring the otherwise pristine landscape. Despite the challenges, roughly 500 villagers have returned in the last couple of years to take up their ancestral trade of transporting goods across the Andes. The difference is that now they are hauling tourists on horseback.
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