President Juan Manuel Santos visited a jungle region of Colombia Wednesday that was once a stronghold of the now-dissolved Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group, or FARC, but which is now a playground for wildlife experts searching for new flora, fauna and animal species.
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Last year, FARC and the Colombian government signed a historic peace deal which paved the way for the communist rebel group to become a political party and give up former strongholds that were once out of reach to researchers.
Areas such as the Chiribiquete National Park have already revealed new discoveries in this rich biodiverse area of the country that transitions between the Andes and Amazon.
Dubbed Colombia Bio Apaporis 2018, the research expedition is made up of dozens of wildlife experts as well as local Indigenous residents who are helping in the search for new species.
In their initial research work, more than 90 new species have been found. Researchers are also collecting data on local species populations that can only be found in the Andean nation.
President Santos joined researchers, keen to show the world that peace with the FARC is bringing with it new opportunities for environmental research in Colombia.
Three new species were presented to Santos Wednesday. Each of the new discoveries have been given names inspired by peace such as "Pax."
Colombia hopes these new finds will encourage researchers from across the world to consider bringing their work to the South American nation.
The rebel group has now transformed into a political party under the name Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, with the same acronym FARC, which until recently had been campaigning for the presidential elections before suspending its activists due to security threats.