The creation of a vast new national park in Peru is excellent news for jaguars, tapirs, sloths, and probably quite a few species completely new to science. The Sierra del Divisor National Park, which holds a Connecticut-sized chunk of largely unexplored rainforest, is home to thousands of species and has been dubbed the "Yellowstone of the Amazon" for its stunning landscapes and variety of wildlife, reports the Mother Nature Network. The area is also home to dozens of indigenous communities, some of them almost completely isolated, and making it a national park gives the region an extra layer of protection from loggers, illegal miners, and drug traffickers, the Guardian reports. The move has been in the works for nearly a decade.
The new protected area borders another one over the border in Brazil. Peru President Ollanta Humala signed a decree creating the park on Sunday, securing what the Rainforest Trust says is the final link in "an immense protected area complex that extends for more than 1,100 miles from the banks of the Amazon in Brazil to the snowy peaks of the Peruvian Andes," and what the director of the Andes Amazon Fund tells Mongabay is a "huge win for the planet." MNN reports that the park not only holds what is believed to be a large number of previously unknown plants and animals, it captures carbon dioxide equivalent to about 40% of Peru's daily output. (Earlier this year, Brazil arrested the man authorities say was the Amazon's biggest deforester.)