National Parks


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Almost ten percent of Peru is incorporated into some form of protected area, including seven national parks, eight national reserves, seven national sanctuaries, three historical sanctuaries, five reserved zones, six buffer forests, two hunting reserves, and an assortment of communal reserves and national forests.

The largest of these protected areas is the National Reserve of Pacaya-Samiria , an incredible tropical forest region in northern Peru covering some 2,080,000 hectares. This is closely followed in size by the Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve , another vast and stunning jungle area of about 1,532,806 hectares, and the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone and Bahuaja-Sonone National Park , again, an Amazon area, over 1,478,942 hectares in extent, with possibly the richest flora and fauna of any region on the planet. Smaller but just as fascinating to visit are the Huascaran National Park in the high Andes near Huaraz, a popular trekking and climbing region some 340,000 hectares in area, and the lesser visited National Reserve of Pampa Galeras , close to Nasca, which was established mainly to protect the dwindling but precious herds of vicuña, the smallest and most beautiful member of the South American cameloid family.

Bear in mind that the parks and reserves are enormous zones, within which there is hardly any attempt to control or organize nature. The term “park” probably conveys the wrong impression about these huge, virtually untouched areas, which were designated by the National System for Conservation Units (SNCU), with the aim of combining conservation, research and, in some cases (such as the Inca Trail), recreational tourism. In December 1992, the Peruvian National Trust Fund for Parks and Protected Areas (PROFONANPE) was established as a trust fund managed by the private sector to provide funding for Peru’s main protected areas. It has assistance from the Peruvian government, national and international non-governmental organizations, the World Bank Global Environment facility and the United Nations Environment Program

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