Serra da Capivara National Park

Photo by Els Slots.

Serra da Capivara National Park and Permanent Preservation Areas is part of the Tentative list of Brazil in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List. It is a proposed extension of Serra da Capivara WHS.

Serra da Capivara National Park protects a mountain range known for its Caatinga shrubland. Water is scarce in the area. The park holds many prehistoric rock paintings, suggesting it was more densely populated in the pre-Columbian era.

Map of Serra da Capivara National Park

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Els Slots

The Netherlands - 14-Dec-22 -

Serra da Capivara National Park (T) by Els Slots

Serra da Capivara’s natural features have twice been blocked from entering the World Heritage List, but Brazil still keeps them on its Tentative List. The focus is on the semi-arid caatinga biome, which cannot be found outside of Brazil and of which this is one of the prime examples. In addition to the Serra da Capivara National Park (already a WHS for its rock art), the TWHS comprises three other protected areas in the same region.

One cannot visit Serra da Capivara and solely focus on either its cultural or its natural values. All rock art sites for example have cute little guardians: rock cavies, an endemic species of rodents. They are related to the (much bigger) capybaras, after which the park was named but they became extinct here because of the drought. There is no permanent water source in the park, though it can suffer from sudden flooding in the rainy season. When driving around the park, you surely will notice all the drainage canals which have been dug by the park authorities (they’re like inverted speed bumps). This way the park stays accessible all year.

The caatinga “consists primarily of small, thorny trees that shed their leaves seasonally”. There’s a “Before and After”-photo in the visitor center, which shows the huge seasonal differences. In December, I found it lush and green. On my first day in the park, the guide led me to climb to a higher viewpoint, and along the way, we saw an interesting variety of cacti species.

The bushes and trees differ in height among the different park areas: the Desfiladeiro trail has much higher trees, and also canyons. We didn’t especially look for mammals or birds, except at a location the guide knew for the Great Horned Owl. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at home. 208 bird species have been recorded in or near the park.

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Full Name
Serra da Capivara National Park and Permanent Preservation Areas
Extension of
Serra da Capivara WHS
Archaeological site - Rock Art Natural landscape - Eroded
2003 Rejected

Regarding extension on natural criteria

1998 Added to Tentative List

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Serra da Capivara National Park: Serra da Capivara National Park and Permanent Preservation Areas (T)


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