KAA IYA NATIONAL PARK
Created in September 1995 after two years of efforts, the 3.4 million
km2 area of Kaa Iya National Park in the "Great
Chaco" is one of Latin America's largest protected areas and one
of the most distinctive and lively biodiversity refuges, containing
jaguars, white-lipped peccaries, guanacos, pumas, deer and tapirs.
Reptiles and birds also abound in the area.
Located at the heart of the Bolivian "Chaco", southeast of the city
of Santa Cruz towards the Paraguayan border, Kaa
Iya with its dry topsoil and its extreme temperature range
from hot to cold, is considered one of the world's remote areas.
Considered the largest dry tropical forest area in the world, Kaa
Iya contains an incredible range of animal species, featuring
some of the last remaining large felines, as well as over 100 species
The native Isoceño tribe was responsible for the creation of the
great "Kaa Iya" National Park,
Bolivia's largest, which is crossed by a gas pipeline in the northern
section of 140 square kilometers; this Park is
considered a new approach to conservation in Bolivia and South America,
as it is a protected area cared for by the native population that
lives in it.
However, there are also other ethnos that live in the Kaa
Iya, such as the ayoreo, chiquitano and especially the
isoceño-guarani, who live in the interior and surroundings of the
Park. However, the Isoceño people, organized as
the "Capitania del Alto y Bajo Izozog" (or CABI), were the driving
force in creating the Park. The name Kaa Iya means
"Forest Protector" in the Guarani language.
The fund enables them to put into practice the techniques of sustainable
development that, based on their centuries of accumulated wisdom,
will ensure that Kaa Iya's future will be as fruitful as its past.
The success of the Isoceños in running Great Chaco's Kaa
Iya National Park proves to the rest of Latin America that
the most enterprising managers of protected areas are precisely
the people who have been doing just that for centuries, making them
the "Original Forest Protectors".
Great Chaco's Kaa-Iya National Park is an extremely
arid and sparsely inhabited territory; it receives less than 500
mm of rainfall a year on average; the daytime temperatures routinely
go above 32 °Celsius.
Despite the Park's arid climate, it is a refuge
for jaguars (Onca de Panthera), peccaries (Wagneri de Catagonus),
and the "Chacoan" guanacos (guanicoe). We can also find here giant
armadillos (Giganteus de Priodontes), deer (Gouazoubira de Mazama),
white peccaries (Pecari de Tayassu ), pumas (Puma concolor), tapirs
(Terrestris de Tapirus), and diverse reptiles and birds.
Many mammals have adapted to the driest parts of the Chaco, an area where they seem to live almost without water during several months each year. The tapirs, peccaries and deer apparently survive by obtaining water from cacti, while the carnivores such as the jaguar and puma supplement their intake of water with the liquid content of the flesh and blood of their prey.
Kaa Iya is in one of the least scientifically studied areas of South
America, and forms a unique eco-system due to its features and the
great range of biodiversity in the dry plains area. The Park's
surface area is around three and a half million hectares, including
the Isoso Baths, the Southeastern Chaco and the dry forest in the
Cerrado region in the north.
Here one finds rare species such as the Chancho Quimillero, the Guanaco, the Tatu Chaqueño (dry forest giant armadillo) and major felines. The same is true of the Chaco flora.
THE GREAT AMERICAN CHACO
The Great American Chaco is a vast region of 1 million km2 in the
central part of South America, a large part of which is contained
within Great Chaco's Kaa Iya National Park, with a clear ecological
unity. Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay share 95% of the Chaco's
surface area, with almost 50% of the total corresponding to Argentina.
In Paraguay, it covers the Departments (districts) of Pte. Hayes,
Boqueron and Alto Paraguay, and in Bolivia, the Departments of Tarija,
Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz. The region displays
a great diversity of environments, including extensive plains, sierras,
major rivers that cut across it, dry and floodplain savannahs, estuaries,
marshes, salt flats and a great expanse of diverse types of forests.
Due to this, it contains a high diversity of animal and vegetable
life, becoming a key area in the preservation of biodiversity.
The mean annual temperature varies from 18 to 28°Celsius, with maximums and minimums of 45 and 0°C, with a good amount of water and generally good soil fertility.
This region has been subjected to a severe process of depletion of natural resources and of its biodiversity, with serious implications for the fragility of ecosystems and for the irreversibility of some processes, originating decreasing welfare levels for its population and a growing emigration.
Facing the need to reverse this trend of impoverishment, preserve the ecosystem and stop the depletion of natural resources, Argentina, Bolivia y Paraguay are considering the Great American Chaco as a single unit for the promotion of Sustainable Development and have expressed need to work jointly within the framework of the International Convention to combat Desertification and Climate Change and promote the Preservation of Biodiversity.
Tourist facilities are really poor, and the services infrastructure for tourism support is minimal, due to which we recommend you to obtain full information and if possible take along equipment of your own.