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Yasuni National Park - Trekking Coca - Ecuador

Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989, this enormous bosque protegido (protected forest) encompasses an area of 9,820 square kilometers (6,100 mi), along with the Huaorani indigenous people’s ancestral territory, and several uncontacted indigenous tribes (such as the Tagaeri and the Taromenane) – the latter areas are referred to as intangible zones due to them being off limits to oil extraction, logging and in some cases even tourism.

The park itself is one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, with several hundred different species of trees, birds and wildlife capable of being found just within a square kilometer of the entire park. It also also holds a world record of having 150 amphibian species (for places with comparable landscapes).

The Yasuni National Park has, however, been under constant threat from international oil companies that intend to cut into its jungle with roads and machinery in order to extract the fossil fuels it rests over. In an incredibly ingenious environmental compromise, the government of Ecuador has pledged to leave the forests untouched and exempt from oil extraction with a project known as the Yasuni ITT initiative. In return for the lost revenue by doing so, the international community will pitch in to provide a compensation fund equivalent to at least 50% of the profits that it would have otherwise gained from drilling throughout the reserve.

Unfortunately, on August 15, 2013, Correa announced that due to the lack of support for the initiative, the government of Ecuador is now obliged to enter and extract the oil they need to keep their heads above an unstable world economy. He has promised, however, to only touch 1% of the entire park in doing so.

The La Selva Jungle Lodge and Yasuni Kichwa Ecolodge are the only lodges located inside the National Park; the latter is run by the local Añangu community which seeks to preserve its tradition and the natural setting while providing a lodge for visiting tourists, specifically those tourists whom wish to experience the Añangu’s culture and its ways.

Coca, Ecuador


27 Aug 2013

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