Images of rock art that could be 20,000 years old, found in Chiribiquete national park, Colombia. Photograph: Francisco Forero Bonell/Ecoplanet
A British wildlife film-maker has returned from one of the most inaccessible parts of the world with extraordinary footage of ancient rock art that has never been filmed or photographed before.
In an area of Colombia so vast and remote that contact has still not been made with some tribes thought to live there, Mike Slee used a helicopter to film hundreds of paintings depicting hunters and animals believed to have been created thousands of years ago. He said: “We had crews all over the place and helicopters filming all over Colombia. As a photographer, Francisco Forero Bonell discovered and took the pictures for my movie.”
The extraordinary art includes images of jaguar, crocodiles and deer. They are painted in red, on vertical rock faces in Chiribiquete national park, a 12,000 square kilometre Unesco world heritage site that is largely unexplored. There are also paintings of warriors or hunters dancing or celebrating. “It is the land that time forgot,” Slee told the Observer.
There had previously been only vague reports of rock art in the area, which is known as Cerro Campana, he said: “There’s no information, maps or communication. It’s such a massive central part of Colombia.” Though some paintings had previously been found and photographed elsewhere in Chiribiquete, this Cerro Campana art has never been filmed or photographed, Slee said: “It was an absolutely stunning moment to be able to get the footage.”