Which countries have the most National Parks by number, land area, and percentage of land area to support the conservation of animals?
SafarisAfricana, a website based in the United Kingdom that researches safari destinations and experiences, published a blog article on National Parks around the world.
First, what do conservationalists mean by ‘National Park’? The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has clear definitions for the designation of a National Park. The IUCN stated in 1969 that a National Park must be a large area of land with one or several ecosystems, unaltered by humans, where plant and animal species, geomorphological sites and habitats, are of special scientific, educational, and recreational interest, or which contain a landscape of great beauty. The country’s authorities must have taken steps to conserve and enforce the respect of the whole area. Visitors are allowed to enter under special conditions.
In 1971, the IUCN declared that a National Park should have a minimum size of 1,000 hectares within zones in which protection of nature takes precedence, with adequate legal protection, and the finances and staffing to manage the area to prevent the exploitation of natural resources through sport, hunting, fishing, facilities, and the need for management.
Therefore, the government of a country plays a major role in the establishment, management, and protection of their National Parks. Game reserves, private land given over to wildlife, and land protected by a country outside of IUCN recognition, are not designated as National Parks.
Australia has the most National Parks of any country in the world. The top 10 countries with the most National Parks include:
|Position||Country||Number of National Parks|
|7||United States of America||62|
Canada has the largest land area designated for National Parks of any country in the world. The top 10 countries with the largest land area for National Parks include:
|Position||Country||# National Parks||Total land area|
Zambia is the top country with the largest percentage (%) area of land given over to National Parks. Zambia has 32% (a third) of its whole country designated for National Parks. The equation to determine the percentage of a country’s land area is the total land area for National Parks divided by the total land area of the whole country multiplied by 100. The top 10 countries with the largest percentage of land area for National Parks include:
|Position||Country||# National Parks||% of country land area|
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM