Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar” is Colombia’s largest national park spanning close to 2.8 million hectares. It has been inscribed as a “mixed” natural and cultural World Heritage site, following the advice of IUCN on nature and ICOMOS on culture.
The park’s mosaic of landscapes is home to a great biodiversity from four converging ecoregions: Amazonia, Guyana, North Andes and Orinoquia.
It is considered a centre of plant diversity and one of the most irreplaceable areas in the world for the conservation of mammals, birds and amphibians. Iconic animals such as the puma, the pink dolphin and the Vulnerable lowland tapir can be found there.
Indigenous communities consider Chiribiquete to be an ancestral long house (or “maloca”) for jaguars. The survival of this big cat is thus as important for their cultural beliefs as it is for the conservation of globally important biodiversity.
Indigenous tribes are known to live inside the park, voluntarily isolated and uncontacted. Around the park, an estimated 3,485 people live in 22 indigenous territories. Colombia’s Constitution recognises the need to safeguard the cultural and ethnic integrity of these local communities.
The numerous streams, torrents, deltas, brooks and lagoons act at the same time as natural borders for the distribution of species, as connecting waterways and as means for people to reach remote areas.
Chiribiquete National Park had already been nominated in 2004, however security concerns made its evaluation unfeasible. Colombia’s current peace process has led to the cessation of armed conflict, enhancing the park’s protection.