After the recent expansion of the Serranía de Chiribiquete National park, making it the largest tropical rainforest national park in the world, Colombia’s government is now declaring the Rio Bita river basin a protected area.

This is being done in association with the WWF and the Alliance of the Bita organization. The Bita River covers almost 600 kilometres, before joining the larger Orinoco River, the fourth-longest in the world. It feeds both Colombia and Venezuela and supports the many communities that live along its banks.

Orinoco river near Rio Bita
The Bita river is one of the tributaries of the Orinoco one of the longest rivers with a huge basin.

The Rio Bita river basin is also a major biodiversity hotspot. It is home to a thousand different species of plants; three hundred species of fish; two hundred species of birds, and over sixty species of mammals, including tapirs and jaguars.

Colombia’s Rio Bita river basin to be preserved

Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, announced that the Rio Bita River basin was to be a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. This is an intergovernmental treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of water. This will ensure that the river’s rich biodiversity will be preserved and protected.

Rio Bita river basin Colombia Jaguar
The Rio Bita river basin is also a major biodiversity hotspot

This protection also includes over 824,000 hectares of land surrounding the river, making it the largest of Colombia’s eleven Ramsar sites. It also happens to be one of the very few sites around the world that has a free-flowing river, unencumbered by human-made changes like dams.

The preservation of the Rio Bita river basin will also affect tourists planning to visit the area. Tourism will now become more sustainable, reducing its impact on the ecosystem of the river and its surroundings.

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