In a big conservation win, Serranía del Chiribiquete National Park, located in the heart of the Colombian Amazon, was expanded today to 4.3 million hectares, making it the world’s largest national park protecting a tropical rainforest. The announcement marks the culmination of decades of efforts by environmental authorities and an alliance for the conservation of new protected areas in Colombia, supported by WWF. And that’s not all: this past weekend, Chiribiquete was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site!
“This is a very important milestone for the Amazon and for forest conservation globally. This is also a defining moment for the protection of key ecosystems in Colombia,” says Mary Lou Higgins, Director, WWF-Colombia. “Chiribiquete is very special for its biological, cultural, hydrological and archaeological value, holding rock art and visual records of extraordinary magnitude and indigenous groups, some of whom remain uncontacted today, or in voluntary isolation. The expansion and recognition of this unique place as a World Heritage site is a significant step toward safeguarding it for future generations.”
Chiribiquete is home to thousands of species, dozens of them endemic and several threatened, including the lowland tapir, giant otter, the giant anteater, the woolly monkey, and the jaguar. It is also of vital importance to local indigenous communities, many of whom live in voluntary isolation.
The management of the area in the next few years will be supported by Heritage Colombia, an initiative led by the National Parks of Colombia, with support from WWF, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Protected Areas and Biodiversity Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Conservation International and initial funding from the German government (BMZ). Heritage Colombia is part of WWF and partners’ Earth for Life initiative.