Chalillo hydroelectric project was first proposed in the early 1990s and later integrated into the Central American Electric Interconnection System (Sistema de Integración Eléctrica para América Central - SIEPAC); it is operating since end 2005, built by the Canadian company Fortis with Chinese participation. The project was the subject of a huge campaign in the late 1990s and early 2000s by environmentalist groups in Belize and elsewhere who were concerned about the project's impacts on the Macal River. Since the first feasibility study there have been warnings of the heavy environmental damage, also due to the peculiarity of the Maya Mountains. Only the head pond behind this dam will inundate 1,000 hectares of riverine habitat, which is, according to some scientists, the only habitat of its type in all of Central America. The dam would further threaten the endangered Scarlet Macaw and other rare species. The dam would fracture the Mesoamerican Wildlife Corridor, a rain forest tract stretching from Mexico to Panama, established to protect migration routes and breeding grounds for wild cats, migratory birds, and other animals. National Geographic News quote Sharon Matola, founder of the Belize Zoo and a principal of a lawsuit against the dam, the first environmental lawsuit of Belize, who said: "This is the cradle for biodiversity in Central America, and arguably the wildest place left in the region. Trading off millions of years of biological evolution for a hydro scheme which, at best, would last 50 years, is an environmental crime of the highest degree."  There are also many unexcavated Mesoamerican ruins in the surrounding jungle.