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If you're looking for an adventure off the beaten path, Los Katíos National Park is worth a visit!
It is located in the Chocó department, near the border of Panama. The 177915 acres (72,000 ha) park with wetlands and rainforests was created to protect the unique flora and fauna of the area.
This World Heritage Site is home to several indigenous tribes who have lived in the area for centuries. This park is teeming with wildlife, including monkeys, deer, and hummingbirds, and is also home to many different plant species. Its location makes it varied in animal and plant life as its forests are known to have animals from both Central America and South America. The animals traveled via the land bridge that connects the north and the south. Before you plan your trip there, make sure to get a good layout and acquire knowledge about this location by reading this article.
Los Katíos National Park was created in 1973 and is located in the department of Antioquia in northern Colombia. It was smaller initially, but more land was acquired in 1979. The park was added to the World Heritage Site in 1999. The government could see the value of the park and asked for its formation, and the park's management is largely under their care. They are supported by international organizations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Los Katíos National Park was home to the Kuna, an indigenous tribe that moved into Panama. There are a few remaining members of this tribe, and so are some other such tribal groups.
The park was placed in the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009 due to many illegal activities such as deforestation and commercial fishing in the Atrato River.
The park covers an area of approximately 177915 acres (72,000 ha). It is bordered by Panama to the east where it shares its border with Panama's Darién National Park. The geographical location is the reason for its varied wildlife species from the central and southern regions.
The park was a sugar cane farm about 70 decades ago and had a few of the plantation workers who lived there. Once the park was formed, they were relocated. Most of the area remains untouched still.
The Atrato River flows down the middle of the park and forms floodplains. These alluvial plains in the region are very fertile and provide much nourishment to the flora.
Apart from the Atrato River, some other rivers and waterfalls make this place more fun and scenic. The most well-known and tallest of all the waterfalls is the Tulip waterfall. This 330 ft (100.58 m) tall cascade is considered to be sacred by the local communities.
Los Katíos National Park has many animals and plant species. As this protected area harbors animal species from South America and Central America, the animals themselves are unique in how they have evolved. It is in dire need of more protection. Like many forests in South America, this too is in danger from deforestation and hunting, which leads to loss of ecological connectivity. The park has been placed under 'Significant Concern' in the IUCN Conservation Outlook Assessment since the survey in 2014 and has remained so since.
Being a center of endemism, you can expect to see many species that are found nowhere else.
Some of the more remarkable animal species here are giant anteaters, manatees, and the Central American Tapir. Other animals include the jaguar, bush dog, and the spectacled caiman.
Four hundred and fifty bird species have been identified in Los Katíos National Park. Many birds like the black oropendola and violet-capped hummingbird are endemic species.
It also has many plant species. There are 669 plant species, some of which are endemic plants, that have been identified so far. Of course, many more do exist that are undiscovered and therefore unnamed. 20% of these 669 species are endemic plants.
Owing to the genetic diversity in the region, including the neighboring national park, a lot of scientific research has taken place to study both the national parks' flora and fauna.
Los Katíos National Park, although not as well known as most other national parks, it is significant for its biological diversity. It has been under threat from people cutting trees and for exploitation of its natural resources.
Local community involvement in the park is key to keeping it a protected area. This World Heritage Site is very important as it holds many answers to evolution.
The park is not too open to tourism. This is because the place is unsafe and can be dangerous for visitors. You can, however, go with permits that might take forever to get. This World Heritage Site built visitor facilities such as accommodation and hiking trails in 1990. If you are unwilling to take the risk, then a boat trip in the Atrato river will allow you to steal glances of the jungle.
Los Katíos National Park has issues such as illegal hunting, commercial fishing, and the felling of trees. There is also the Pan-America Highway project which will cut through the national park. These projects are often the cause of water pollution and noise pollution, which scare animals away. There are concerns that the highway project might lead to a spike in illegal wildlife trade, which would endanger the wildlife. Roads this size also fragment the habitat and can be dangerous for animals trying to cross the road, which might get hit by vehicles.
In 2015 however, the World Heritage Site was removed from the World Heritage List of Danger. This is because many laws started being implemented, which led to the decrease in such activities, and with the help of IUCN, you can visit this place. IUCN has given a list of recommendations on what to do and has encouraged strengthening communication with Panama's Darién National Park.
What animals live in Los Katios National Park?
A: Some of the animals that live here are giant anteaters, bush dogs, American manatees, and jaguars.
What plants live in Los Katios National Park?
A: Many plants live in the area, and many of them are endemic, like the cativo tree.
What is the history of Los Katios National Park?
A: Los Katios National Park became a World Heritage Site in 1994 and has been a protected area since then, even though it faces many difficulties.
Who founded Los Katios National Park and when?
A: It was formed in 1973 and has been managed by the Colombian government with help from international organizations.
Where is Los Katios National Park located?
A: The park is located in northern Colombia.
What can I expect in Los Katios National Park?
A: You can expect to see a lot of birds and animals. You can visit many waterfalls too, but it is not easy to get permits to go there as it is a dangerous place.
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