Iguazú National Park
|Iguazú National Park|
View of a section of the waterfalls
|Location||Misiones Province, Argentina|
|Area||550 km2 (212 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Administración de Parques Nacionales|
|Designated||1984 (8th session)|
|Region||Latin America and the Caribbean|
The Iguazú National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Iguazú) is a national park of Argentina, located in the Iguazú Department, in the north of the province of Misiones, Argentine Mesopotamia. It has an area of 550 km2 (212 sq mi).
The park was created in 1934 and it contains one of the greatest natural beauties of Argentina, the Iguazu Falls, surrounded by the subtropical jungle. Across the Iguazu River lies its Brazilian counterpart (Iguaçu National Park). Both sites were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, in 1984.
The area of the park was inhabited 10,000 years ago by the hunter-gatherers of the Eldoradense culture. They were displaced around 1,000 CE by the Guaraní, who brought new agricultural technologies, and were displaced in turn by the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores in the 16th century, though their legacy is still alive in this area (the name of the park and the river is Guaraní y guasu, "large water"). The first European to visit the zone was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, in 1542; Jesuit missions followed in 1609.
Flora and fauna
The fauna of the park includes several rare and threatened species: jaguar, jaguarundi, South American tapir, ocelot, tirica, anteater, the black-fronted piping guan, the harpy eagle, and the yacare caiman. One can also find birds like the great dusky swift and large toucans, mammals like the coatí, and a diversity of butterflies. The vinaceous amazon, named for its wine-colored plumage, is occasionally found in this park.
The Iguazú River ends in the Paraná River 23 km beyond the falls, after a 1320 km course. Inside the park it becomes up to 1,500 m wide and turns first south, then north, forming a large U-shape. Its banks are densely populated by trees, including the ceibo (Cockspur coral tree), whose flower is Argentina's national flower. The flora of the park also features lapacho negro and lapacho amarillo (family Bignoniaceae), as well as palmito trees and the 40-metre-high palo rosa (family Apocynaceae).
- Olson, D. M, E. Dinerstein; et al. (2001). "Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth". BioScience 51 (11): 933–938. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0933:TEOTWA]2.0.CO;2.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iguazu National Park.|
- Official web site
- Administración de Parques Nacionales - National Parks Administration of Argentina (in Spanish and English)
- World Heritage Site