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Safeguarding Serranía de Chiribiquete National Park

Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) signed an agreement with Parques Nacionales Naturales (PNN) of Colombia in an effort to safeguard Serranía de Chiribiquete National Park.

On the morning of Thursday 6th October 2016, the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding with Parques Nacionales Naturales (PNN) of Colombia in an effort to safeguard Serranía de Chiribiquete National Park and the surrounding landscape.
The Chiribiquete National Park is a mosaic of Guianese and Amazonian landscapes, protecting a great variety of unique habitats with an excellent conservation status for the flora and fauna of these two large biogeographical regions. Its proximity to the Andes mountain range is fundamental for processes of hybridisation and speciation, and constitute a unique feature with respect to the rest of the tepuis in South America and the Guiana Highlands. Chiribiquete National Park is home to ecosystems of exceptional biological wealth.
The Guianese Amazon in which the park is located is one of the few areas where the fauna from four biological provinces come together naturally. The representation of groups with different biogeographic affinities highlights the Serranía de Chiribiquete as a meeting point for wildlife from different origins, specially Amazonia, Guiana, the North Andes and Orinoquia. The area therefore behaves as a biogeographic enclave in which species from different origins converge.
Geologically, the exceptional natural beauty and the aesthetic importance of Chiribiquete – a massif that rises up in the middle of the Amazon, independent of the Andean orogeny – provides a window to the origin of the Earth and to Colombian geology. Its complex topography makes the park an area of dynamic diversification rather than a stable centre for speciation, and it harbours a rich biodiversity and high degrees of endemism in an extremely heterogeneous ecosystem. Given its vast extension and state of conservation, it guarantees the maintenance of such ecological features better than any other area of the Colombian Amazon.
Chribiquete National Park Colombia, Aerial Shot by Rob Muir.

Aerial Shot of Chiribiquete NP

The Chiribiquete National Park is a living natural and cultural landscape, with exceptional value. Enshrined in the heart of the Colombian Amazon and the northwest Amazon basin, it has been recognised as a territory of cosmogonic and ancestral development for a multitude of Indigenous cultures, which live by complex concepts of shamanic thought. The prehistoric rock art found at Chiribiquete is one of the earliest human manifestations on the continent dating back to the Paleo-Indian Era (Paleoart). It provides us with an opportunity to understand the special nature of the environment – a possible warm refuge during the Pleistocene – in which the hyperrealist paintings of these early ages reveal the intricate knowledge of the ritual practices and ceremonies of Indigenous hunting and gathering societies dating from the Paleo - Indian Era up until today.
From a cultural and ancestral perspective, it is a sacred world which, according to the mythology, lies at the Centre of Origin and Centre of the World. Its geographic location – segmented by the equator and by the equinoctial line – makes it an Axis Mundi in shamanic thought. Its rock art includes more than 50 monumental murals that contain more than 70,000 different representations with a unique design and style, and a symbolic and emblematic content referring primarily to the jaguar (Panthera onca).
The agreement that has been signed between Frankfurt Zoological Society and Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia focuses on strengthening the management of the park; on working together to mitigate the pressures generated by an arc of deforestation that it advancing rapidly towards the park; and on working with indigenous communities to help strengthen their governance in relation to the management of natural resources in areas surrounding the park.
We will also help foster relationships between the Colombian and Peruvian governments and other stakeholders in an effort to strengthen cross-border collaboration.  The main drive of the project however is to ensure the long-term protection of Chiribiqeute National Park as arguably one of the most important biological and cultural areas in the world.  The fact that both FZS and PNN have agreed that this first MoU lays out a 10-year commitment, lies testament to the long-term perspective that both partners share.