Venezuela is in South America, along the Northern Coast of the continent. Large portions of the country were initially covered by rainforests, which have almost vanished. Its habitats range from the Andes Mountains in the West to the Amazon Basin in the South, with Llanos plains and the Caribbean Coast in the center, and the Orinoco River Delta in the East. It has 43 national parks, and they cover approximately 21.76% of the country. Every state in Venezuela has at least one national park. Lara State has 5.
Venezuela's National Parks And Protected Areas
Established in 1991, Parima Tapirapecó is in the Southern State of Amazonas. It covers an area of 15,058 square miles and is Venezuela’s largest National Park, the second largest in South America and the fifth-largest in the world. It is home to the source and headwaters of the Orinoco, one of the longest rivers in South America; and to the Sierra Parima Mountains. The park protects the headwaters of the Orinoco, and also the natural space and culture of the Yanomami people, an ethnic group in the country. The primary vegetation found in Parima Tapirapecó is lowland evergreen forests and sub-montane and montane forests. There are vast areas of secondary savannahs in the Southern Parima Uplands.
At 11,583 square miles, Canaima is the second largest national park in Venezuela, and sixth largest worldwide. It is found in Bolivar State and reaches the country’s borders with Brazil and Guyana. In 1994 it was listed by UNESCO as a natural world heritage Site, because of its sharp relief, the tepuis, which is considered special and unique worldwide. Approximately 65% of the park is occupied by plateaus of thick rock which are known as tepuis. The tepuis form cliffs and waterfalls that are a spectacular sight. Angel Falls, the highest waterfall worldwide, is one of them. Tepuis are mad of sandstone and dates back to the time when South America and Africa were part of a supercontinent. Canaima is home to diverse fauna such as Giant Armadillo, Giant Otter, Giant Ant-Eater, Cougar, and Green Iguana. 300 species of plants are in the park these are endemic only in La Gran Sabana, the savannah in South Eastern Venezuela.
Serranía de la Neblina
At 5,251 square miles, Serranía de la Neblina is the third largest national park in Venezuela. It was created in 1978, and is home to Pico da Neblina, the tallest non-Andean mountain in Latin America and the largest tepui worldwide. The massive tepui is divided into two by Cañon Grande del Río Baría, one of the deepest canyons on earth. The park, with Parima Tapirapecó, comprises the Alto-Orinoco-Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve. Serranía de la Neblina is home to the grey-bellied antbird, the yapacana antbird, and the black-headed uakari
Henri Pittier is the oldest park in South America and covers an area of 416 square miles. It was established in 1937 as Rancho Grande but was renamed Henri Pittier in 1953 in honor of the distinguished Swiss geographer, ethnologist, and botanist. It is located in the Aragua State, comprising most of its coast and the mountainous area of the Carabobo State. It borders San Esteban National Park. It has two geographical systems a steep mountainous interior and a coastal zone. It is an important bird area and is an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site. It has 582 bird species, which is 43% of birdlife in Venezuela, and 6% worldwide. It has one of the highest densities of bird species in the world, of 54 species per 10km2. The park’s terrain, with steep slopes, and its geological relief is mostly metamorphic igneous rock. It is threatened by damage caused by fires. Other threats include human encroachment which causes the destruction of forest area, excessive hunting, visitors leaving solid waste in the park, and a lack of maintenance of park infrastructure which leads to degradation of the park.
Threats To Venezuela's Ecosystems
Swiss biologist Henri Pittier often highlighted the ecological problems in the country, emphasizing the need to protect and conserve its ecosystems; efforts which led to the establishment of the national park system. Today the ecological problems are more acute than it was in Henri Pittier’s time, and conservationists in Venezuela are inspired by his example.