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Nature's Beauty

Chiribiquete National Park: Colombia’s Rich Tropical Rainforest

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Colombia is officially the most ecologically rich nation on Earth, ranking number one for the most biodiversity per square kilometer. Today, we visit Chiribiquete National Park, which is a region of south-central Colombia and the cornerstone of four separate geographic regions: the Andes mountain range, the Orinoco savannah, the Guyana Shield, and the Amazon rainforest. A highly prized location, the area is distinguished by its table-top mountains, wealth of biodiversity, incalculable cultural value, and sacred significance. Chiribiquete remains one of the most unexplored regions on Earth.

In 2018, the government of Colombia expanded the area of the Chiribiquete National Park from 2.8 million hectares to 4.3 million hectares. This established the park as the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park and guaranteed its long-term protection from the destructive effects of logging and clearing for agricultural land. The Chiribiquete table-top mountains have become known as the “Sistine Chapel of the Amazon Jungle.” The native Pemon word for this magnificent geological formation is “tepui,” meaning “house or table, of the Gods.” The tepuis serve as natural barriers isolating the thriving rainforest ecosystems from their surroundings, explaining why there has been little exploration of this area.

The richly decorated tepuis depict the universe and the purpose of all beings within it. The artworks portray Chiribiquete as a transcendental point in the spiritual and physical worlds. One of the most persistent depictions is the symbol of the jaguar, the powerful king of the rainforest. Chiribiquete is considered the “maloca,” an ancestral home for the jaguar. In Amazon communities, the maloca, or long house, is traditionally home to the chief and several families.

In Chiribiquete culture, the jaguar takes on a spiritual significance as a force that shines from the Heavens into the domains below. Attuned to Mother Nature, the wisdom of these indigenous people of our First Nations is apparent in the consistent message for the preservation of the natural environment in order to maintain the cosmic balance.

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