A national park is an area of land or water protected by the state to help preserve the local area and wildlife while still being enjoyed by the public. Although some of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by some of these incredible spaces, they might be nothing compared to the other countries around the world that enjoy the biggest national parks.
The Wood Buffalo National Park was first created to protect a herd of wood bison whose numbers had dropped from a whopping 40 million to under 1,000. The park is around 17,300 square miles and is now the home of the largest self-regulating and free-roaming herd of bison in the world. As if that wasn’t enough, the Wood Buffalo National Park is also the only nesting place of the whooping crane and is the largest national park in Canada.
Part of the Namib Desert, considered to be the oldest in the world, helps to make up the Namib Naukluft Park – the 19,216 square mile park across Namibia. Many animals have made the park their home over the years, including jackals, hyenas, and snakes, and they have all learned to adapt to the vicious terrain. Amazingly, the majority of the moisture in this park comes from the fog formed over the Atlantic Ocean rather than falling as rain.
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is so large that it not only covers parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, but it is also the same size as The Netherlands. Around 5,000 animals were shipped to the park at the beginning of the conservation programme, and they have since been joined by more than 2,000 more of all species. This is one of the leading parks in the continent for preserving many magnificent animals.
Amazingly, the second largest national park in the world is found underwater. That’s right; we’re talking about the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia. While the reef makes up the largest cluster of exotic marine life and corals in the world, it is constantly under threat from pollution, climate change, and tourists. Thankfully, this section of the reef is protected from fishing or anyone trying to remove fish as well as any commercial shipping traffic as they must avoid the area and stick to designated lanes instead.
Incredibly, the Northeast Greenland National Park is the largest of its kind in the world. The park covers 375,000 square miles meaning it is larger than most countries in the world. To put that into perspective, the park is only slightly smaller than Egypt. As well as being filled with animals such as the bearded seal, arctic foxes, and polar bears, the Northeast Greenland National Park is also the most northern national park on the planet.
Sometimes, all we need is a little reminder to remember that we might be quite small after all. Mother Nature is an incredible mistress, and thankfully the countries with the biggest national parks look set to keep her and her creations safe from any harm.