Lonely Planet Writer

Peru’s massive new national park will protect two million acres of Amazonian rainforest

The incredible biodiversity of Peru’s Amazon region will gain new protections after the country announced a new national park the size of America’s Yellowstone.

Peru’s new national park will protect the rainforest. Image by Andes Amazon Fund

The creation of Yaguas National Park was announced by the Peruvian government this week. Located in the northern region of Loreto, near the Colombian border, the park will help protect more than two million acres of rainforest. The park encompasses land around the Putumayo River, a tributary of the Amazon and a river system that is home to a wide variety of fish species.

The move has been lauded by organisations like the Andes Amazon Fund, which is donating US$1 million (€0.8 million) towards implementing the new park and providing “social development opportunities for indigenous communities” near the park. The region has been under pressure for decades from mining and illegal logging, so the conservation efforts are hugely important to local communities, which have suffered since the rubber boom at the turn of the 20th century.

A jaguar rests in Nauta, Loreto, Peru. Image by Kim Schandorff/Getty Images

The new park will help protect the unique aquatic environments within its boundaries. In fact, the park contains more types of freshwater fish than anywhere else in Peru and important threatened wildlife such as giant otters, woolly monkeys, Amazonian river dolphins and manatees. Also living in the park are jaguars, giant anteaters and tapirs.

“As a Peruvian conservationist, I am proud that with 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 ten times as diverse,” said Enrique Ortiz, program director for the Andes Amazon Fund.

Peru’s new national park will protect the rainforest. Image by Andes Amazon Fund

Scientists for the Field Museum in Chicago have also been working in the area for years with an international team of biologists, social scientists and guides to document the plant and animal life. “Today, Yaguas is an amazing story of cultural resilience—local residents are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the people who survived the horrors of the rubber boom,” said Corine Vriesendorp, a conservation ecologist at the Field Museum, in a statement. “Securing this space is critical for the 1100 Bora, Mürui, Tikuna, Kichwa, Ocaina, and Yagua people who live nearby”.