Dying botanical garden highlights Venezuela's decay
Dead palm trees and a dried-up lagoon are what you see when you enter Caracas's botanical garden. A UNESCO World Heritage site and once one of the city's most important tourist spots, its directors are trying to rescue it from...more
Dried palm leaves are seen at the botanical gardens. While Caracas neighborhoods go weeks without water due to government mismanagement, the gardens have been dry since March and its famed collection of thousands of plant species is wilting away,...more
The remains of a greenhouse. The gardens were once an idyllic spot in Caracas's chaotic center where students from the nearby Central University of Venezuela would meet to study and office workers would relax. The United Nations cultural agency in...more
A volunteer of a group, helping with maintenance works, carries a piece of tree at the botanical garden. As the once-wealthy country spirals into economic chaos under President Nicolas Maduro, workers are cutting down the dead debris of once lush...more
A vandalized car is seen in the herbarium. "Even the cactuses need water though people don't believe it," Jan Tillett, who has looked after the gardens' nurseries for 15 years, said, standing by the dried-up lagoon. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A flowering water lily is seen in a greenhouse. Crumbling infrastructure and lack of investments have hit Venezuela's water supply for years but dwindling rains in recent months have exacerbated the situation. In Caracas, locals queue for hours to...more
Dead palm trees are seen at the botanical garden. The gardens have a miniscule annual budget of 200 million bolivars, just $66 at the black market exchange rate, staff said, adding they have petitioned the government for more...more
The gardens' largest lake (pictured), built in the shape of Venezuela and covered in giant flowering water lilies, is half empty. One of the lake's prized species has died out: the 2-meter wide Santa Cruz water lily, so buoyant it can support a...more
Although the gardens have received donations of water tanks and volunteer help, Tillett said it was harder every day to maintain the park. Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Partially dried Bromeliads leaves are seen in a greenhouse. Last year, looters stripped the gardens of their electric cables, computers and irrigation pipes, making it impossible to maintain the rare aquatic plants groundskeepers were growing in a...more
The remains of the Venezuelan National Guard post. Looters even stole the walls and roofs from guard houses. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Books that belonged to Swiss-born geographer and botanist Henri Pittier are seen in the herbarium. The gardens also include Venezuela's national herbarium. This contains samples of 450,000 plant species across the country, which now cannot be...more
Dead palm trees are seen at the botanical garden. "There's no money," Avendano said. "But we still haven't stopped working, so that the garden doesn't die." REUTERS/Marco Bello
A broken fence is seen in a greenhouse. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A dried-up lagoon is seen at the entrance of the botanical garden. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Water lilies are seen in a half empty lagoon built in the shape of Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Partially dried Bromeliads leaves are seen in a greenhouse. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A flowering water lily is seen in a half-empty lagoon built in the shape of Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A Venezuelan National Guard member walks at the entrance of the botanical garden. REUTERS/Marco Bello
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