Peru’s government has officially designated as a national park the Sierra del Divisor area of the Amazon jungle in Peru’s Ucayali and Loreto states.
Today President Ollanta Humala signed the decree from Ucayali after taking a helicopter flight around the “Cone” mountain whose image is often used to represent the Sierra del Divisor.
The Sierra del Divisor park will include 5,470 square miles on the border with Brazil spanning the Coronel Portillo province of Ucayali and the Ucayali, Requena and Maynas provinces of Loreto.
“We want to preserve this geographic area as an important part of the lungs that allow us to purify the air of the world and, moreover, to save it from illegal activities such as illegal logging, drug trafficking and other activities that deforest our jungles,” Humala said.
Creating the region a national park will stiffen legal penalties for illegal logging and mining as well as drug trafficking inside the area. However some conservation experts have questioned the ability of Peru’s central government in Lima to enforce the laws on the ground of the virtually untouched jungle.
High-profile celebrities ranging from Mexican rock group Mana to former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg had called on Peru to designate the Sierra del Divisor a national park. Humala’s government had delayed signing the act into law for several months. Many believe that oil companies and the agricultural sector attempted to thwart environmental protection of the area.
The Sierra del Divisor is home to over 3,000 species of plants and animals, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world. The area is also home to uncontacted, indigenous tribes who choose to live isolated from modern society.
The creation of the park which Humala dubbed the “lungs of the world” comes less than one month from the United Nations Environment Program’s COP21 climate change conference in Paris this year.
If a Tree Falls in a National Park … (Foreign Policy)