By Agence France-Presse
Colombia’s massive Chiribiquete National Park has made UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the United Nations body announced Sunday.
“Congratulations,” the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization announced on Twitter.
With an area of 2.7 million hectares (6.7 million acres) covering five Amazonian municipalities in the southern Guaviare and Caqueta regions, Colombia’s largest natural park has rich biodiversity and is a sacred place for indigenous people.
This is the ninth world heritage listing in Colombia, the second most biodiverse country in the world after Brazil.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that his government will expand the protected territory in the area.
“Tomorrow we will be in the park to further expand and protect our biodiversity #World Heritage,” he wrote on Twitter.
The territory, which is considered a protected area since 1989, will be expanded by 1.5 million hectares on Monday, according to the presidency.
For decades, war overshadowed the treasures that the park holds.
But the peace agreement signed in 2016 with the then communist FARC guerrilla led to the discovery of the large tepuis mesas hundreds of meters (yards) high and wide that house more than 75,000-year-old cave paintings.
The area is home to creatures such as the Chiribiquete emerald hummingbird, seen as the only endemic species in the Colombian Amazon, as well as the jaguar, the big cat only found in the Americas that is threatened by the loss of its habitat due to deforestation.