The Peruvian government has announced plans to create a major national park in a remote region of the Amazon rainforest.
The new Yaguas National Park will preserve 2,147,166 acres of rainforest in a region known for its extraordinary biodiversity. It will be located in the country’s north-east corner, near the border with Colombia.
The country’s Prime Minister and Vice-President, Mercedes Aráoz, said the new park would “not only maintain a natural sanctuary, which is home to unique species in the world, but also generate opportunities for indigenous families”.
Researchers in the country estimate that the region’s intricate system of rivers is home to 550 separate species of freshwater fish, more than anywhere else in Peru. The area is known for its giant otters, woolly monkeys, Amazonian river dolphins, and manatees. Six indigenous tribes are also known to live and depend on the Yaguas.
“The benefits are for everyone, for the future of everyone, for the country, and for the world,” said Liz Chicaje Churay, President of the Federation of the Native Communities of Ampiyacu.
According Enrique Ortiz, Program Director at the Fund stated that the Amazon Andes Fund, a US-based conservation group, the past two decades has seen the region face an increased number of threats from “illegal logging and mining interests”.,
“As a Peruvian conservationist the creation of Yaguas National Park, Peru continues on the path of creating one of the most amazing park systems in the world. This park is as large as Yellowstone National Park and probably 10 times as diverse”.
The organisation has already committed $1 million towards making the park a reality and to providing social development opportunities for local tribes.
Corine Vriesendorp at The Field Museum in Chicago, and one of the campaigners for the park’s creation, told local reporters: “The forest in Yaguas can affect rainfall as far away as areas in the western United States, including places critical for food production…We need to buffer the planet from climate change, and protecting the rainforest is the easiest way to do that”.