Colombia’s largest natural park a world heritage site: UNESCO

(Image: President's Office)
(Image: President's Office)
(Image: President's Office)
(Image: President's Office)

Colombia’s largest nature reserve, Chiribiquete National Park, has become a world heritage site, UNESCO announced Sunday.

Together with a number of other natural wonders, UNESCO inscribed the 4.3 million-hectare national park on its growing list of World Heritage Sites that can count international protection.

“Congratulations,” said UNESCO on Twitter after inscribing Chiribiquete, a nature reserve the size of Denmark.

Both President Juan Manuel Santos and President-elect Ivan Duque celebrated UNESCO’s decision.

According to Santos, the designation as a world heritage site is “great news for Colombia.” Earlier this year, the president also increased protection measures for Chiribiquete, which is home to some of Colombia’s oldest rock art.

It is also famous for its impressive rock formations.

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Duque, who will take office in August, said the UNESCO decision “fills us with pride.”

“The commitment is and will be to protect our biodiversity,” said the president-elect.

Chiribiquete is Colombia’s ninth world heritage site.

Colombia’s world heritage sites

  • Chiribiquete National Park
  • Colombia’s coffee-growing region
  • Historical center of Mompox, Bolivar
  • Los Katios National Park
  • Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary in the Pacific Ocean
  • Tierradentro National Archaeological Park
  • Inca road system Qhapaq Ñan
  • San Agustin Archaeological Park
  • The fortress of coastal city Cartagena

To celebrate the UNESCO decision and to formalize a recent extentsion of the park, the president said he would travel to Chiribiquete on Monday.

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located at the frontier of the Amazon rainforest, has one of the largest variety of animal species in the country.

Scientists have not been able to accurately estimate the number of species because of the park’s remote location. Armed conflict additionally impeded a close study.

With the little information that exists, the park management believes there are some 300 species of birds, 313 different type of butterflies and more than 260 ant species, to name just a few.

Almost half of Colombia’s animal species can be found in the Caqueta province, in which the southern half of the park lies.

Apart from the extention, Santos also vowed to add another $525 million to the country’s conservation budget to “protect and defend our environment.”

Colombia’s Amazon rainforest has been among the hardest hit regions in terms of deforestation. Large-scale farming, mining and coca cultivation, are the three greatest threats.

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