Puracé National Natural Park
|El Parque Nacional Natural Puracé|
|Puracé National Natural Park|
|Nearest city||Popayán, Colombia|
|Area||830 km2 (320 sq mi)|
The Puracé National Natural Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Natural Puracé) is a national park located in the Andean Region of Colombia, southeast of the city of Popayán in the Cordillera Central range. Its main feature is the active stratovolcano Puracé, one of Colombia's most active volcanoes. Four of the country's most important rivers originate within the area: Magdalena River, Cauca River, Japurá River and Patía River.
It was established in 1961 as the first national park in the Cauca Department. During the 1990s the FARC guerrilla used the park as a base camp, but it has been cleaned of the forces since 2002 after the President of Colombia Álvaro Uribe's campaign against the movement.
The only active volcano in the area is Puracé at 4,580 metres (15,030 ft) above mean sea level. In addition there are two higher volcanoes, Azúcar at 5,000 m (16,000 ft) and Coconuco at 4,600 m (15,100 ft), and four more with and elevation between 4,400 m (14,400 ft) and 4,500 m (14,800 ft).
The highest daytime temperatures are between 14-16°C, and the coldest nighttime temperatures below freezing. The average yearly rainfall is 2500 mm and tend to decrease and elevation increases. Frost occurs frequently above 3,000 m (9,800 ft) and almost daily above 4,200 m (13,800 ft).
Flora and fauna
Over 200 orchids and nationally threatened species such as the Colombian Pine, Andean Oak, Wax palm tree are found in the park. It is home to over 160 species of birds, of which hummingbirds, ducks, birds of prey are the most dominating. Several mammals are found in the park: spectacled bear, mountain tapir, cougar, pudú as well as the Andean condor that the San Diego Zoo helped to reintroduce in the 1990s. The lower elevation forests are home to four primates: woolly monkey, howler monkey, gray-bellied night monkey, tufted capuchin.
- "Puracé National Park". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- "Puracé". Global Volcanism Program. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- Villegas & Sesana 2007, p. 133
- Caputo, Newton & McColl 2009, p. 424
- "Parque Nacional Natural Puracé" (in Spanish). Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- Villegas & Sesana 2007, p. 134
- "Naturaleza y Ciencia del Parque Nacional Natural Puracé" (in Spanish). Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- Villegas & Sesana 2007, p. 137
- Caputo, Lorraine; Newton, Paula; McColl, Richard (2009), Viva Travel Guides Colombia, Viva Publishing Network, ISBN 978-0-9791264-4-4.
- Villegas, Benjamin; Sesana, Laura (2007), Colombia Natural Parks, Villegas Asociados, ISBN 978-958-8156-87-3.
- Media related to Puracé at Wikimedia Commons
- The park's page at Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (Spanish)