Venezuela is a nation of vast natural bounty, its 43 national parks encompassing more than 20 percent of the South American country’s land area. This “megadiverse” nation includes nearly 1,500 bird species, more than 350 mammal species, and tens of thousands of plant species, including the Flor de Mayo orchid, the national flower. The storied and fertile Orinoco River cuts through the country’s heart. Angel Falls in Canaima National Park is the world’s highest waterfall, tumbling nearly 3,300 feet, and significant populations of indigenous peoples, including the Yanomami and Pemon, reside in these protected lands as well.
And yet the future of these incredible places is in jeopardy.