Canaima National Park
|Canaima National Park|
|Location||Bolívar State, Venezuela|
|Established||June 12, 1962|
|Criteria:||vii, viii, ix, x|
|Designated:||1994 (18th session)|
|Region:||Latin America and the Caribbean|
Canaima National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Canaima) is a 30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi) park in south-eastern Venezuela that borders Brazil and Guyana. It is located in Bolívar State, and roughly occupies the same area as the Gran Sabana region.
The park was established on 12 June 1962. It is the second largest park in the country, after Parima-Tapirapecó, and sixth biggest national park in the world. It is the size of Belgium or Maryland.
About 65% of the park is occupied by plateaus of rock called tepuis, which are a kind of plateau of millions of years old, with vertical walls and almost flat tops. These constitute a unique biological environment and are also of great geological interest. Their sheer cliffs and waterfalls (including Angel Falls, which is the highest waterfall in the world, at 1,002 metres (3,287 ft)) create spectacular landscapes.
The most famous tepuis in the park are Mount Roraima, the tallest and easiest to climb, and Auyantepui, the site of Angel Falls. The tepuis are sandstone and date back to a time when South America and Africa were part of a super-continent.
The park is home to indigenous Pemon Indians, part of the Carib linguistic group. The Pemon have an intimate relationship with the tepuis, and believe they are the home of the 'Mawari' spirits. The park is relatively remote, with only a few roads connecting towns. Most transport within the park is done by light plane from the airstrips built by various Capuchin missions, or by foot and canoe. Pemons have developed some basic and luxurious camps, which are mainly visited by tourists from across the world.
Canaima has a varied fauna, which is distributed throughout the park according to multiple environmental factors such as altitude and vegetation type. Among the species found are:
- Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus)
- Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)
- Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)
- Cougar (Puma concolor)
- Jaguar (Panthera onca)
- Linnaeus's Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus didactylus)
- White-faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia)
- Brown-backed Bearded Saki (Chiropotes israelita)
- Roraima Mouse (Podoxymys roraimae)
- Tyleria Mouse Opossum (Marmosa tyleriana)
- Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja)
- Red-shouldered Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis)
- Dusky Parrot (Pionus fuscus)
- Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates leucomelas)
- Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)
- Hummingbirds (Trochilinae)
- Toucans (Ramphastidae).
- South American Bushmaster (Lachesis muta)
There are over 300 species endemic only in La Gran Sabana.
The park includes the entire watershed of the right bank of the Caroní River, and two of the highest waterfalls in the world, the Angel Falls and the Kukenán and plenty of waterfalls of lower altitude.
The only form of relief are the tepuies, that are plateaus which are unique features, among which are its vertical and nearly flat tops, although there are several tepuies that do not meet these rules. Geologically are remnants of a sedimentary cover composed of very ancient sandstone that is superimposed on a base of igneous rocks (mainly granite) that is even older (nearly 3000 million years). On its summit is home to a very substantial amount of very specific endemic species, both plant and animal. Some endemic plant species are categorized as "carnivorous", which are thus the food supply (mainly insects) that are so scarce in the mountains. These have a geological formations ranging between 1500 and 2000 million years, which makes them one of the oldest formations in the world. The best known tepuies are: the Auyantepuy (where it follows the Angel Falls), the Roraima, the Kukenan and the Chimantá among many others.
Roraima Black frog - Oreophrynella quelchii
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Canaima National Park.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Canaima National Park.|
- UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre
- Official UNESCO website entry
- Video from Canaima National Park
- Canaima National Park
- Protected Planet Page for Canaima