Panthera applauds the President of Colombia, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, and Colombian Parks Unit for the recent expansion of Chiribiquete National Park. Long considered one of the most significant, core protected areas of the Colombian Amazon, this park, now the size of Belgium, is home to a myriad of wildlife, including thriving jaguar populations.
“This newly expanded park is a victory for the long-term conservation of jaguars and their associated biodiversity in the second most biologically diverse country in the world,” said Panthera’s CEO, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. “The President has fulfilled his promise made in Rio+20 to significantly contribute to the agreed-upon United Nations Sustainable Development Objectives.”
Enacted by President Juan Manuel Santos on August 21st in Bogotá, this law more than doubles the size of Chiribiquete Park, from 1,298,954 ha. to 2,782,353 ha, which lies within the expansive 18-country Jaguar Corridor.
Today, Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative is the largest and most ambitious carnivore conservation program in the world. Aiming to ‘connect and protect’ jaguar populations from Argentina to Mexico to ensure the genetic diversity of the species, this program holds the key to the long-term conservation of jaguars across Latin America. Parks that embrace sustainable development, like Chiribiquete, constitute stepping-stones and refuges along the Jaguar Corridor through which jaguars can safely move to hunt, reproduce and care for their young.
Along with its vast diversity and number of wildlife, the park is home to an ensemble of ancient petroglyphs in the Neotropical rainforests of southeastern Colombia.
“The Park now constitutes the largest protected jaguar refuge for Colombia, with over 800 adult jaguars estimated to live in Chiribiquete,” explained Dr. Esteban Payan, Panthera’s Colombia Country Director and Northern South America Jaguar Program Regional Director. “It’s fitting that the jaguar serves as the main theme found throughout the thousands of prehistoric petroglyphs contained in the park’s tepui shelters.”
Dr. Rabinowitz concluded, “There’s nothing more efficient to making the Jaguar Corridor Initiative a reality than expanding the footprint of National Parks.”