Next week the Colombian government will officially double the size of its largest national park, reports El Espectador.
Chiribiquete National Park in southern Colombia will expand from 12,990 square kilometers to 27,808 square kilometers, making it one of the biggest protected areas in the Amazon. The expansion will include areas thought to be inhabited by two “uncontacted” or voluntarily isolated tribes. These areas were potentially at risk from oil exploration and mining.
Liliana Madrigal of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), a group that works with indigenous groups in Colombia to preserve the country’s forests, told mongabay.com in that the move is a “win-win” for Colombia’s stunning cultural and biological diversity.
“The plan to expand Chiribiquete is great for Colombia,” Madrigal said in January 2013. “Chiribiquete already protects an enormous wealth of flora and fauna, but its enlargement now also will facilitate the protection of voluntarily isolated indigenous peoples that are believed to inhabit the park and help ensure their right to remain uncontacted.”
Chiribiquete map (Courtesy of Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia) and Tepui in Chiribiquete (Photo by Mark Plotkin of the Amazon Conservation Team)
Chiribiquete best known for its unusual rock formations, including mesa-like tepuis and dramatic waterfalls, but also features at least 32 cave painting sites with some 250,000 drawings, making it a key center for indigenous culture. The park is home to more than 300 bird species, 7 monkey species, and 300 butterfly species.